Rail workers vote to reauthorize strike

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Workers at Canadian National (CN) Railway and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) have voted to reauthorize strikes at both companies.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) announced that close to 10,000 workers at CN and CPKC have voted to reauthorize strikes if negotiated settlements cannot be reached.

Overall, workers voted 98.6 per cent to reauthorize a strike, with an 89.5 per cent turnout.

At CN, conductors, locomotive engineers and yard workers voted 98.4 per cent to reauthorize a strike, with a 90.1 per cent turnout. While at CPKC, conductors, locomotive engineers and yard workers voted 99.2 per cent to reauthorize a strike, with an 88.6 per cent turnout. And, rail traffic controllers at CPKC voted 95.7 per cent to reauthorize a strike, with an 88.5 per cent turnout.

“CN and CPKC are trying to force changes to our collective agreements that would move the clock back on working conditions and rail safety,” said Paul Boucher, President, TCRC. “The Teamsters are trying to stop them. With this renewed strike mandate, we intend to go back to the bargaining table, work with federal mediators, and do everything in our power to reach a fair deal for our members and protect all Canadians.”

For federally regulated industries, strike authorization votes are only good for 60 days. Workers at CN and CPKC had previously voted to authorize strike action May 1, and workers would have been in a legal strike position May 22.

However, on May 19, the government temporarily suspended workers’ right to strike to allow the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to determine whether any shipments must continue in the event of a work stoppage.

Because of the delay at the CIRB, the union took the step of asking members to reauthorize strike action.