Published: November 25th 2009
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Late yesterday, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), served notice to initiate strike action at Canadian National Railways (CN) effective 00:01 local time, Saturday, November 28, 2009.
The decision to service strike notice came after CN notified the Union they planned to arbitrarily alter the terms and conditions of the working conditions for approximately 1700 locomotive engineers.
CN advised the TCRC that it plans to incorporate a 1.5% wage increase coupled with the requirement to have locomotive engineers work an additional 500 miles per month over the amount required by the present Collective Agreement. This change would require some of locomotive engineer to work 7 days a week with no time off and cause layoffs within the ranks of the conductors, trainmen and yardmen.
The parties have been assisted by Federal Mediators since August in the hope of renewing their Collective Agreement, which expired on December 31, 2008, but stalled after CN declined to continue negotiations during their last bargaining session. The TCRC has offered CN, through the mediators, to withdraw/suspend their strike notice if CN would withdraw/suspend their notice of the change to the Collective Agreement and get back to the table to negotiate.
“Canadian National Railways has forced us to service strike notice after they informed us of the unilateral change to the terms and conditions of the Collective Agreement effectively locking out our members” said Daniel J. Shewchuk President of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), which represents CN locomotive engineers, conductors, trainmen and yardmen, “It is obvious to us that CN is counting on the Federal Government intervention to settle the issues rather exploring solutions to a negotiated agreement.”
“As advised by the company, these changes are the tip of the iceberg and we cannot sit idly by while CN simply changes the terms and conditions of the Collective Agreement. Our members deserve much better than that.” said Shewchuk.
The TCRC is also in the process of filing a complaint of bargaining in bad faith against CN as the situation continues to deteriorate.
Teamsters Canada Rail Conference represents 12,000 railway workers with major railroads and shortline railroads across Canada and affiliated with the 125,000 members in Teamsters Canada and 1.4 million members in North America with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Daniel J. Shewchuk, President, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference