Strife at CN looming
MONTREAL—The Teamsters union is warning of a potential strike or lockout at CN Rail starting Oct. 28.
The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference said in a statement yesterday that its offer to continue a conciliation effort, which ended Oct. 7, has been rejected.
Spokesman Roland Hackl said the union is “extremely disappointed“ by CN’s refusal to extend mediation to forge a contract to replace one that expired July 22.
A CN spokesman said the company is optimistic it can reach a settlement with the union “to avoid labour disruption in Canada,” adding the earliest date for a strike or lockout is one minute after midnight on Oct. 29.
Mark Hallman added in an e-mail today that the two sides are scheduled to resume collective bargaining Oct. 21, with the help of federally-appointed mediators.
He said those mediators had acted as conciliators during the conciliation process that ended Oct. 7.
Hackl, the union spokesman, said in his statement that the railway is using an old tactic of “pointing a gun to its workers’ heads to force them to make concessions.”
He said the concessions being sought would see CN workers work longer hours with less rest time in between trips.
Hackl said this “flies in the face of scientific research on fatigue management,” and seems to contradict CN CEO Claude Mongeau’s July statement that railways had to make safety their “number-one priority.“
“CN’s managers have to walk the walk and talk the talk; they have to understand that people are not machines and that you should never place profits before people,” added the union statement.