May 21st, 2024

CN, CPKC workers approve strike mandate, as possible work stoppage looms

By The Canadian Press on May 1, 2024.

Paul Boucher, President, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) speaks during a press conference to announce the results of strike votes at Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. He is joined by fellow teamsters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Employees at Canada’s two biggest railways have authorized a strike to back contract demands that could see thousands of workers walk off the job in three weeks if they are unable to reach new deals.

The union representing about 9,300 employees at Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Kansas City Ltd. says members voted more than 97 per cent in favour of a strike mandate this week.

Paul Boucher, president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, claims that the railways are trying to strip the collective agreements of “safety-critical rest provisions” and that negotiators are at an impasse.

He is also warning that a work stoppage at both CN and CPKC at the same time would disrupt supply chains on an unprecedented scale.

CPKC says that the two deal options it has presented provide major benefits to workers and compromise nothing related to safety.

The vote this week, that saw more than 91 per cent turnout, means conductors, engineers and yard workers could hit the picket lines as soon as May 22, with a mandatory federal mediation period kicking off on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR, TSX:CP)

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