CN strike looms

A strike affecting Canada’s largest railway company could begin tomorrow.

About 3,000 unionized workers at Canadian National Railway including train conductors and yard workers served notice Nov. 16 of their intent to strike beginning Nov. 19.

The workers, represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) have been working without a contract since July.

Representatives from the railway and the union have been in negotiations for the past six months, but the two sides have failed to reach a tentative agreement.

“The union hopes to reach a negotiated settlement that its members can ratify, and to move forward without a service disruption,” TCRC said in a Nov. 16 news release.

“In the event that parties are unable to reach a negotiated settlement, over 3,000 conductors, trainpersons and yard workers will exercise their legal right to strike on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 0:01 am (Eastern Time),” the release stated.

The union representing workers said rail safety, fatigue and prescription drug benefits are the major issues being discussed at the bargaining table.

“Wages are not a sticking point in these negotiations,” it said.

Rob Reilly, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of CN said Nov. 16 that the company has offered to go to binding arbitration, but the TCRC declined.

“We continue to negotiate in good faith to reach a fair agreement before the strike deadline,” said Reilly.

“If a settlement cannot be reached… we will once again encourage the union leadership to accept binding arbitration as an alternative to disrupting the Canadian economy.”

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