Ottawa, January 22, 2015 – The negotiators of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) have asked CN representatives for an additional 60 days of conciliation. CN has refused.
As it stands, the conciliation between the two parties will end at midnight Saturday, January 24, and will begin a twenty-one day cooling off period. Following that, CN could precipitate a labour disruption as of mid-February.
“While negotiations are ongoing, we believe that more time is required to address the significant issues and concerns the TCRC is facing” said TCRC spokesperson Roland Hackl. “We are concerned that CN is once again attempting to run the clock out and rely on government intervention.”
Historically, negotiations between the rail carrier and its unionized workers have often resulted in labour conflicts that as far as the Teamsters Union is concerned could have been avoided. On virtually all of these occasions, the federal government intervened and forced the workers back on the job.
A new bargaining process to avoid a strike
This time around, the Union’s leaders proposed a new bargaining process so that an agreement could be reached without a strike or interruption in services. This process was explained to the employer’s negotiators right from the start.
With this process, Locomotive Engineers and the Company would have to pay predetermined amounts to charities instead of imposing a lockout or a strike. This would put the pressure squarely on the parties. CN refused the Union’s proposal.
“We know that a labour conflict affects the Canadian economy, businesses, workers, the rail carrier and ultimately the public,” added Mr. Hackl. “That’s why we suggested this new bargaining mechanism. But the process would also require the Company to conclude an agreement with us, without government interference. CN doesn’t appear willing to bargain without reliance on the threat of legislation.”
One of the major sticking points right now is the company’s demand to remove all rest provisions that allow our members to manage fatigue. This is an extremely important issue for the Canadian public.
The Union leader continued, expressing the following concern: “There are many serious problems with the way fatigue is handled. It is not unreasonable for workers to be allowed proper rest before being required to work or being relieved when they are tired. Otherwise, our members and the public are put at risk.”
The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
For more information:
Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Communications
Telephone: 450 682-5521
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