VANCOUVER, B.C.–During a panel session at the Canadian Logistics Conference (CLC) in Vancouver earlier this week, Jean-Jacques Ruest, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer CN spoke at some length about the current labour situation at CN. The title of the panel was “Intermodal Supply Chains: Creating Realistic Expectations” and Ruest’s remarks focused on what Canadian shippers have experienced for the past few winters regarding labour and what they might expect this year.
The panel was moderated by Ruth Snowden, Executive Director at CIFFA, who also provided CIFFA members with the following update in the CIFFA daily bulletin:
CN and two of its unions (Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and Unifor) are negotiating and are hopeful of a settlement. Should that not occur, the unions will be in a position to start legal strike action on February 15th. However, the Canada Labour Code requires the unions to give a minimum 72 hour advance notice of their intention to commence strike action. Because the railroads are federally regulated, if that comes to pass, the Government of Canada may be asked by interested stakeholders to intervene. In the event that there is a work stoppage, CN has management staff who are trained and available to operate in certain capacities. However, given the number of employees who could potentially be on strike and the challenges of winter operations, the railroad would be challenged to continue to run normally.
Late last week Ruest issued a notice to its supply chain partners, including CIFFA, regarding the negotiations with one of its unions. “I am writing to update you on the status of current CN labor negotiations with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) union, which represents CN locomotive engineers in Canada. CN has declined a TCRC request to extend the current conciliation process because the company remains optimistic that the two parties can and will reach a new collective agreement. CN is scheduled to continue negotiations with the assistance of federal conciliators on February 5th.
CN has recently negotiated tentative collective agreements with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference-Rail Canada Traffic Controllers, which represents traffic controllers or train dispatchers, and the United Steelworkers, which represents maintenance-of-way employees on CN in Canada.”
CIFFA appreciates the open communications from CN on the labour situation and is committed to sharing relevant and timely information with our membership.