Unifor CN workers vote for strike

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Unifor members working at CN have voted overwhelmingly in support of strike action in votes taken during the week of February 20, 2023.

Local 100 members voted 98 percent in favour, and Council 4000 members voted 97 percent for a strike.

Labour action could start March 21st.

CN said in a statement that it is preparing for the possibility by scaling back some intermodal operations on March 14th. Containers bound for Prince George, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg or Moncton may be affected as of the 14th.

The railway said it will maintain intermodel services to all ports in Canada as well as terminals in Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax, and in the United States.

Unifor’s national collective agreements with CN that cover about 3,000 workers, expired on December 31, 2022. Local 100 represents locomotive and freight-car mechanics, electricians and apprentices. Council 4000 represents over 3,000 workers including workers at CN, Intermodal, CNTL and CN Savage Alberta Railway.

CN and Unifor have been negotiating since October 2022.

The union filed a Notice of Dispute with Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) on December 16, 2022 and has been negotiating with assistance of federal conciliators since then.

CN tabled a comprehensive offer with the Union on February 14, 2023.

At that time the union said in a media release that although substantial progress has been made towards its bargaining aims, a couple of outstanding issues remain with Local 100. The union said these include “the employer making changes to the existing substance testing process under the Company’s drug and alcohol policy.”

“CN’s offer falls well short of what the membership would see as being fair, especially in consideration of the company’s recent announcement of $1.42 billion in profits in the last three months of 2022,” the union said.

“Today, Unifor members sent the employer a strong message and have provided the Union with a strong show of support to achieve a fair and equitable contract. I know that everyone in both bargaining units and bargaining committees are ready to build off this mandate and bargain a fair collective agreement,” said Lana Payne, Unifor national president in a march 5th statement.

The bargaining committees and CN representatives are are set to meet again during the week of March 13.

“We are in the final stages of negotiations and if the employer is genuine about getting back to the table and securing a contract with Unifor members, they will remove their concessionary demands and start bargaining fairly with the union,” Unifor said in a notice to members.