Ottawa expected to intervene in CP Rail strike

Almost 5,000 Canadian Pacific Railway striking locomotive engineers and conductors could be forced back to work as Ottawa prepares to introduce legislation, the CBC reports.

Talks between the union representing the workers and CP broke off Sunday. The federal labour ministry is expected to table a back-to-work bill as soon as today. This is hardly the first time the Conservative government has quickly intervened in a high profile labour dispute involving unions. It did so with Air Canada earlier this year.

As Maclean’s Aaron Wherry mentioned last week:

If such legislation [for CP] makes it to the floor of the House, it would be the sixth such bill—and fourth in the last two years—that the Conservatives have introduced since forming government in 2006. For the sake of comparison, the House saw nine back-to-work bills in the 1990s, six in the 80s, 10 in the 70s, four in the 60s and two in the 50s.

According to the CBC, Doug Finnson, a chief union negotiator in the CP dispute, the company has been stalling because it knows it can count on Ottawa tabling back-to-work laws:

“They [CP] want to rely on the government to get something for them instead of collective bargaining, and we believe their actions are essentially in bad faith,” said Finnson.