Collective bargaining yet to begin on expired contract between CN Rail and Teamsters

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More than three thousand conductors, yard staff and trainpersons who work for CN Rail are working with an expired contract, and it’s not clear when the railway and its largest union will sit down to begin collective bargaining.

The three-year collective agreement between the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and CN Rail that was signed after an eight-day strike in 2019 expired on July 22, 2022.

While negotiations typically begin three months before the end of an agreement, the two sides have yet to sit down as they’re awaiting a decision by the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB), according to the union.

A union spokesperson says CN filed an application in December 2021 to combine the TCRC’s multiple bargaining units into one, and they’re still waiting for a ruling on this application from the CIRB.

The current terms will remain in force for the time being, in accordance with Part I of the Canada Labour Code, notes David Przednowek, CN’s assistant vice president, grain, in an interview with RealAgriculture.

“Collective bargaining for the renewal of the agreements for the conductors hasn’t commenced. That is one of the factors that affects maximum end-to-end supply chain capacity in terms of no major rail disruptions,” says Przednowek, speaking about CN’s overall plans for transporting the 2022-23 crop.

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