Montreal, QC — CN Rail train conductors represented by Teamsters Canada have given the railway a 72-hour strike notice. They could walk off the job Tuesday morning.
Mike Cory, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of CN, said: “We continue to negotiate in good faith with the assistance of a federally-appointed mediator in order to reach a fair agreement before the strike deadline. We are also offering to resolve our differences through binding arbitration with a neutral arbitrator. We remain optimistic that we can reach an agreement without a labour disruption.”
According to the union, however, CN is seeking concessions — which they call “efficiencies” — from workers on a wide range of issues despite averaging $3 billion in annual profits since the last collective agreement. By provoking a strike that would ultimately be resolved through binding arbitration, the company may achieve gains that could not have otherwise been made by bargaining in good faith.
“We’re doing everything we can to avoid a strike, and Teamster members expect the same from management,” explained Roland Hackl, TCRC vice president and lead negotiator for the union. “The company will try to paint themselves as victims, when in reality, they’re likely to provoke a strike for the sole purpose of having an arbitrator possibly grant concessions.”
This past weekend, the company served notice that it would unilaterally impose changes to the collective agreement that could permanently and irreparably impact workers, and according to Hackl, the union had no choice but to issue a strike notice in order to prevent this.