Canadian Pacific Railway said last week a “significant gap” remains between the company and railway employees represented by a pair of labour unions: the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
About 3,000 TCRC engineers and train conductors as well as 360 IBEW signal maintainers could go on strike as early as April 21 if they are unable to negotiate a new labour deal with CP.
“We have been working hard with both unions for months, and continue to meet in order to negotiate an agreement that balances the needs of these two unions with the needs of our entire workforce, our customers and our shareholders,” said CP president and chief executive officer Keith Creel in an April 13 news release.
“I made labour outreach my top priority when I became CEO and I continue to focus my efforts on this key area.”
CP said a work stoppage involving the TCRC and the IBEW would “severely impact CP’s ability to continue to provide safe and efficient freight … service.”
“All customers and commodities would be impacted at a time when demand is soaring,” the company said.
CP and the TCRC negotiated a one-year extension of an existing labour agreement in September 2017, however that agreement was not ratified by TCRC membership.
On April 6, TCRC workers at CP voted 94.2 percent to authorize strike action
Creel said CP will continue to meet with union representatives and remains hopeful that “fair agreements can still be reached.”
TCRC meanwhile has accused CP of attempting to manufacture a crisis to force government intervention and avoid bargaining with the Teamsters.
“If CP truly wants to avoid a strike, all they need to do is show up on time at the bargaining table, be prepared to negotiate with the Teamsters, and stop lobbying the government to save them from themselves,” said TCRC president Doug Finnson.
“CP’s adversarial labour relations strategy has failed miserably,” he added.
Additional meetings between CP and the unions were scheduled to take place this week.