Teamsters vote to authorize rail strikes at CN and CPKC

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The union that represents more than nine thousand workers at CN Rail and CPKC says its members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike mandate, raising the odds of an unprecedented work stoppage at both of Canada’s main railways as early as May 22.

This is the first time in decades that both railways face the prospect of a strike at the same time.

Negotiations have not been successful on three collective bargaining agreements with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) that expired at the end of 2023.

After several weeks of electronic voting, the TCRC announced the following strike vote results on Wednesday morning:

– At CN, conductors, locomotive engineers, and yard workers voted 97.6% to authorize a strike, with a 93.3% turnout.

– At CPKC, conductors, locomotive engineers, and yard workers voted 99% to authorize a strike, with a 91.7% turnout.

– Rail traffic controllers at CPKC voted 95.3% to authorize a strike, with a 96.6% turnout.

“A simultaneous work stoppage at both CN and CPKC would disrupt supply chains on a scale Canada has likely never experienced”, noted TCRC president Paul Boucher. “I would like to make it very clear that provoking a crisis on that scale has not been, and never will be, our goal. The reality is that we would very much like to avoid a work stoppage. With these results, we intend to go back to the bargaining table, work with federal mediators, and do everything in our power to reach a fair deal for our members. A deal that does not compromise on safety – or put profits over people.”

At least four consecutive rounds of labour negotiations — in 2012, 2015, 2018, and 2022 — between CPKC (then CP Rail) and the TCRC have involved work stoppages. TCRC members at CN spent eight days on strike in 2019 before agreeing to a three-year deal that expired in mid-2022. The collective agreement with CN that expired on Dec. 31 was only ratified last May.

Related:

Over nine thousand CN and CPKC workers to vote on strike mandate

Possible dual railway strike looms as contract negotiations remain stalled

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