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
Daniel J. Shewchuk, President, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference