Unionized train crews have rejected a one-year contract extension with Canadian Pacific Railway.
Approximately 3,000 CP conductors and train engineers who are part of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) voted on the deal earlier this week.
The rejection represents a setback to CP’s efforts aimed at mending strained relations with unionized railway employees.
The current TCRC contract that covers train crews is due to expire Dec. 31.
“While disappointed, I have been clear that we are focused on improving our relationship with our (train and engine) employees and that commitment remains unchanged,” said CP president Keith Creel.
“We look forward to working with the union membership to better understand this result and to discuss next steps.”
In a recent conference call with investors, Creel said he was committed to smoothing over employee relations that had become strained under former CP boss Hunter Harrison.
During his tenure at CP, Harrison reduced employee numbers, reeled in costs and increased railroad efficiency.
However, the moves had a deleterious impact on employee relations.
Creel told investors earlier this year that he was determined to smooth over feathers that had been ruffled and usher in a new era of improved employee relations.
A total of 1,725 ballots were cast in the TCRC ratification vote, including 1,158 votes against and 567 in favour, according to a TCRC document
In a recent news release, CP said that it has had a successful year on the labour front, negotiating a number of long-term agreements ahead of expiry.
“These agreements centred on a common vision that was in the best interests of the entire CP family, our customers and our shareholders,” the news release stated.
“The one-year proposal to the TCRC-T&E was an early offer and consistent with that approach.”
CP officials were scheduled to meet with the union leaders today to discuss the results of the vote and next steps leading to the renewal of the collective agreement.
“We remain optimistic that we can come to a mutually beneficial agreement with the TCRC–T&E — an agreement that meets the needs of our Canadian conductors and engineers as well as our customers and shareholders,” Creel said.