Railway workers reject CP offer

Train conductors and locomotive engineers have rejected a final contractor offer at Canadian Pacific Railway, renewing concerns that a strike could occur at Canada’s second-largest railway company with 72 hours notice. 

Unionized workers represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) turned down CP’s final contract offer in a vote administered by the Canada Industrial Relations Board.

Vote results were made public shortly after noon on May 25.

TCRC negotiators had indicated before the vote that their members would be open to resuming contract negotiations with CP in the event that the company’s contract offer was rejected.

But the union also warned a strike would occur if the railway refuses to move on key issues including wage increases and working conditions.

CP’s offer included a two percent annual wage increase, improved benefits and a one-time payment of $1,000 to any TCRC member that agrees to drop an outstanding work-related grievance against the company.

A strike involving about 3,000 conductors and engineers at CP would begin within 72 hours if strike notice is given.

Another 360 signal maintenance workers represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) also rejected a final offer by the company.

CP said in a May 25 statement that the company would be meeting with both unions to discuss next steps.

“CP is disappointed with the outcome of the vote given that both final offers provided for significant improvements to wages, benefits and working conditions that are consistent with agreements recently reached with other CP unions in both the United States and Canada,” CP said in a news release posted at www.cpr.ca.

Representatives from the TCRC and IBEW were not immediately available for comment on May 25.

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