CN says that a tentative agreement has been reached with 3,200 conductors and yard crews working on the company’s mainline and yards in Canada for a new collective agreement. The company transported about 170,000 barrels of crude oil per day, critical shipping capacity because of the pipeline shortage that forced the Alberta government to curtail production by 325,000 barrels per day in January.
The agreement will allow for CN employees to return to work at 2 p.m. local times Tuesday, and yard assignments will start at 6 a.m. local times Wednesday. and there will be no job action during the ratification period.
The 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,” said 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.”
The tentative agreement must now be ratified by Teamster members via secret-ballot electronic voting. Before the voting period opens, union meetings will be held across the country to explain the terms of the agreement to members. The process usually takes several months.
“I am pleased to announce that we’ve reached a tentative agreement with CN. I would like to thank our members for their incredible courage and solidarity,” said the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte. “I would also like to thank all the Teamster local unions from across different industries, all the labour organizations and members of the public who supported us on the picket line.”
Details of the tentative agreement will not be released until the members have had a chance to review the document first.
The Teamsters union thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for respecting workers’ right to strike and acknowledged Labour Minister Filomena Tassi, Transport Minister Marc Garneau, and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for helping the parties find common ground.
“Previous governments routinely violated workers’ right to strike when it came to the rail industry. This government remained calm and focused on helping parties reach an agreement, and it worked,” added Laporte.
Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers in Canada in all industries, including over 16,000 in the rail sector. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
CN transports more than C$250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business sectors, ranging from resource products to manufactured products to consumer goods, across a rail network of approximately 20,000 route-miles spanning Canada and mid-America.