A strike by around 3,400 conductors, engineers and signal maintainers who work for Canadian Pacific Railway has been averted, at least temporarily.
Members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference-Train & Engine (TCRC) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) would have walked off the job starting after midnight on Saturday morning.
Instead, TCRC and IBEW union members will now vote on CP’s latest offer.
“I want to thank the leadership of the TCRC, IBEW, and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for their hard work, collaboration and openness to getting this situation resolved without a work stoppage,” said Keith Creel, CP president and CEO, in a statement on Friday night. “This is tremendous news for our employees, our customers and the Canadian economy.”
After notifying customers that the railway was beginning a shutdown process on Wednesday, CP said it will “immediately begin to execute a safe and structured start-up of its train operations in Canada.”
In the meantime, upon CP’s request, the federal labour minister will direct the Canadian Industrial Relations Board to administer a ratification vote on the company’s final offers.
The unions suggest the federal minister’s action only delays a possible strike, as both the TCRC and IBEW are urging members to reject CP’s final offers.
“CP succeeded in delaying the inevitable. The government will bring this ridiculous offer to our members and we strongly recommend that members vote against it,” said the president of the TCRC, Doug Finnson. “I would like to reassure our members that we have given nothing up.”
The TCRC says CP’s latest offer does not satisfy its members’ concerns about “fatigue and wages.”
“CP can’t hide from us forever,” said Finnson. “Once our members reject their final offer, CP will have exhausted all possible escape routes and they will face their workers once again.”
It’s expected the electronic votes will take place in the near future, but a date has not yet been announced.
More to come…