Railway Strike Date Now Uncertain

May 15, 2024

A date for a possible strike or lockout of CN and CPKC rail employees remains uncertain after the federal government last week asked the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to weigh in on whether a labour disruption would impact the health and safety of the Canadian public. 

After voting overwhelmingly in favour of strike action last month, more than 9,000 CN and CPKC workers – members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference – were set to walk off the job as soon as May 22 if no agreement could be reached in the meantime. 

However, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan’s request to the CIRB means the board must now consider what, if any, railway shipments need to continue in the event of a strike or lockout to ensure the health and safety of Canadians. That process, during which no work stoppage is permitted to occur, is expected to extend beyond the May 22 strike deadline. 

“The membership’s right to withdraw services is frozen while the board investigates the matter fully and issues a determination. The employers cannot lock us out either,” the union said in a notice to its members over the weekend.  

“The time required for the process to complete is virtually impossible to predict.” 

The union described Ottawa’s move as “incredibly frustrating,” adding it intends to challenge any results that impacts its workers’ charter rights, “whether it be this dispute or any decision that may hinder future collective bargaining.” 

However, the union admitted the reality is that it must follow the law and respect the process. 

Meanwhile, talks between the two sides are continuing. Union and CN negotiators met on Monday, and the next round of union talks with CPKC are scheduled for May 17. 

Source : Syngenta.ca
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