Rail workers at CN and CPKC vote to reauthorize strike at railways, says Teamsters | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Rail workers at CN and CPKC vote to reauthorize strike at railways, says Teamsters

Union members at CN and CPKC railways have voted to reauthorize strikes at both companies if negotiated settlements can't be reached. Canadian Pacific Railway trains sit at the main CP Rail train yard in Toronto on Monday, March 21, 2022.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

LAVAL, Que. - Union members at CN and CPKC railways have voted to reauthorize strikes at both companies if negotiated settlements can't be reached, raising the threat of supply chain disruptions across Canada.

Teamsters Canada said in a statement Saturday that union members at both railways voted almost 99 per cent in favour of reauthorized strike action.

The union said members previously voted in favour of strike action on May 1, but the 60-day time limit on the vote expired.

It said that meant it had to take the "unusual step" of holding a second strike vote.

CN spokesman Jonathan Abecassis said Saturday the company does not want a situation to occur that holds "Canadian supply chains hostage."

"Our position is that we want the union to come back to the table," Abecassis said in an interview. "We are asking the union to accept binding arbitration. It is not favourable to one or the other of the parties. It is favourable to getting a deal done."

CPKC spokesman Terry Cunha said the company issued a statement Friday and would not be making further comment Saturday.

The Friday update on the company's website said the railway was awaiting a decision from the Canada Industrial Relations Board regarding the federal labour minister's referral on maintenance of activities during a strike or lockout.

"We know our supply chain stakeholders want certainty regarding expected timing of a CIRB decision and potential work stoppage, however, it remains unclear when the CIRB will issue a decision," said the statement.

It said it is unlikely the company or union would be in a legal position to initiate a strike or lockout before mid-July or later, and 72-hours strike or lockout notice must be provided.

The company also said it requested the CIRB extend a cooling-off period for 30 days after the date of its maintenance activities decision.

"This would help provide stability and predictability regarding the timelines for a potential work stoppage and allow all stakeholders to plan for such an eventuality," said the company statement.

Paul Boucher, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference president, said the union wants to go back to the bargaining table with its renewed strike mandate and work with federal government mediators.

The union said the rail companies are looking for concessions on crew schedules, work hours and fatigue management.

"CN and CPKC are trying to force changes to our collective agreements that would move the clock back on working conditions and rail safety," said Boucher. "The Teamsters are trying to stop them."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2024.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
The Canadian Press

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