CP and Unifor begin negotiations

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by Emily Atkins

Talks between Unifor and CP Rail opened in Calgary on September 13. Both sides exchanged proposals and have dates booked in October to begin negotiations.

The current collective agreement, with approximately 1,200 workers from British Columbia to Quebec, who service locomotives and freight cars, and produce track and freight car/locomotive components, is set to expire on December 31, 2022.

Unifor said in a statement that its bargaining committee raised numerous issues, including the “heavy-handed disciplinary actions from the employer, wages, pensions, benefits, job security, contracting out and working conditions”. The union is also concerned about contracting-out and the need to re-invest CP record profits back into the workforce.

Unifor local 101R president Rick Raso made his intention for this round of bargaining clear, “We look forward to this round of negotiations with CP. We will seek a contract that will assist our members in tackling inflation, recognize the hard work our members put in every day to goods moving across this county, and address the Company’s unfair and heavy-handed discipline once and for all”.

“Our members are frustrated by heavy-handed, unreasonable discipline that breeds distrust on a daily basis, and creates financial hardship and stress for families,” said Len Poirier, Unifor National Secretary Treasurer.”

In August 2022, CP and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) – Train and Engine came to a two-year contract deal following binding arbitration. That agreement includes a 3.5 percent wage increase in 2022 and 2023 and increased benefits. Under the arbitration decision, the TCRC will also join a CP Pension Improvement Account. The new collective agreement runs through 2023. TCRC represents approximately 3,000 locomotive engineers, conductors, train and yard workers across Canada.