CP Railway workers on strike after last-minute talks fail - Macleans.ca

CP Railway workers on strike after last-minute talks fail


Canadian Pacific Railway‘s freight deliveries screeched to a halt early Wednesday after workers went on strike. Last-minute negotiations between CP and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference failed to reach an agreement before the midnight deadline.

“We have made every reasonable effort to get a settlement,” Doug Finnson, Teamsters vice-president, told the CBC. “Every union member knows how important the outstanding issues are. We will not walk away from the negotiation table.”

The Globe and Mail is reporting that Via Rail, which runs on CP tracks in some areas, is relying on alternative transportation between Ottawa and Sarnia, and White River and Sudbury. A deal was struck on Tuesday to ensure that commuter trains in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver will remain open despite the labour strife, the Montreal Gazette reports.

The main points of contention between the Teamsters and CP have been management’s attempts to enroll new union hires on less costly benefit contribution plans, and water down existing pensions by 40 per cent, according to the union. The Teamsters represent more than 4,800 conductors, yard workers, rail traffic controllers and engineers. Their last five-year collective agreement with CP expired Dec. 31, 2011.

The federal government, which has been willing to step in and force resolutions at high profile labour disputes in recent months, has indicated a concern over a prolonged strike at CP. “Our government is concerned that a work stoppage would have a negative effect on Canadian businesses, families, and the economy,” Industry Minister Lisa Raitt said in a statement, quoted by the National Post.

Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada, has also expressed worry. His industry relies heavily on freight service and wants Raitt to force arbitration. “A strike by CP workers will have a serious effect on the industry,” Gratton said in a statement. “The shipment of fuel and other supplies to mine sites will be compromised as is the transport of mineral products.”

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CP Railway workers on strike after last-minute talks fail

  1. OF COURSE Lisa Half-Rate has back to work legislation all planned out – it’s on her “How to Be a Con-Bot” templates page. Harper is against ALL forms of personal expression, especially if you are unionized or wish to protest anything in China oops I mean Canada..

  2. Makes you wonder what
    these companies are scare of????????????

    Having to pay there people a good wage! And there stock
    holders AKA our federal government lose money!!!!!!!!!!!

    They go crying to the government so they won’t have to work
    harder and make money the real way…By working for it.

    The rich are just a drain on people. And nothing more than cry-babies.

    So the rich and politicians can change each other’s diapers!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I do believe employees should be protected from unfairness of corporation power, but we need better way to do that, a way that avoid disrupting the company’s business and put customers in “hostage” situation, which sometime become a lose-lose scenario.

    In some cases this can and already done by giving the unions the right of binding arbitration instead of right of strike. However, in case that is enough, there are still many options. For example, workers can given guaranteed percentage of voting power in the corporate board. Even more extreme, workers can given the right to block parts of managements’ yearly bonus and pay raise; you can bet management will scramble to listen to workers’ demand if their own money affected by it! Through all that, no customers will be held hostage!