A tentative deal between the Teamsters union and the over 3,000 rail workers it represents and CN Rail will mean that normal rail operations are set to resume as early as today.
A news release sent mid-morning on Tuesday says:
“I’m pleased to announce we’ve reached a tentative agreement with CN,” says Francois Laporte, president of the Teamsters union.
The tentative deal must be ratified by members, a process done by secret ballot online.
Details of the agreement will not be disclosed, the union says, until members have had a chance to review and vote.
According to CN, employees will be able to return to work at 2:00 p.m. local times today, and yard assignments will start at 6:00 a.m. local times tomorrow morning. However, there will be no job action during the ratification period and results of the ratification votes are expected within eight weeks.
“We want to thank our customers for their patience and support and assure them that CN is preparing to resume full rail operations as soon as possible,” says JJ Ruest, president and chief executive officer of CN. “I would also like to personally thank our employees who kept the railroad moving safely at a reduced capacity. CN and its people are committed to moving the North American economy by providing freight service that enables economic growth.”
Commodity groups rejoicing
The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) says the news the strike is over is welcoming, but there needs to be a plan in place to get grain moved quickly,
“The one-week strike has threatened the remainder of our shipping season,” says Todd Lewis, APAS president. “This is crunch time for our cash flow and producers need to move grain to get paid. We need to know how CN plans to make up the shipping shortfall. We can’t afford to have this problem drag on all winter and spring.”
Lewis went on to remind the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau that the Canada Transportation Act requires the two major railways to file winter shipping plans, adding it’s his hope the minister will be asking for an,”immediate update from the railway with a solid plan.”