Rail union proposes charitable donations instead of strikes

by MM&D Online Staff

LAVAL, Quebec—Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) negotiations committee, which represents some 1,700 CN railway workers, met with management of the rail carrier on October 28.

TCRC executives wanted to establish a new negotiating process, in order to reach an agreement that does not include a work stoppage or service interruption. The process in question was explained to the employer’s negotiators at the onset.

“It is time to change the negotiation template, as the tense atmosphere that hung over the previous talks did not serve anyone’s interests”, says Rex Beatty, president of the Rail Conference. “And if we fail to come to an agreement, my union proposes a new mechanism for resolving conflicts without a work stoppage.”

In accordance with this mechanism, both parties will have to pay predetermined amounts to charities instead of imposing a lockout or a strike. It is believed this is a first in the history of negotiations between Teamsters and the rail carrier. The foreseen amounts will be paid as long as the parties have not reached an agreement.

Meanwhile, normal negotiation procedures are continuing smoothly.

CN has served its negotiation notice and, in accordance with the Canada Labour Code, the union has acted upon it. Soon, the parties will file a notice of dispute to the Minister and will request the intervention of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to help conclude this round of negotiations.

“I expect the FMCS to propose to the employer an agreement in which work will be maintained without interruption”, says Beatty.

The current contract expires on January 1st, 2015.

The use of video surveillance in trains, the grievances management process, the right to refuse to work and compliance with the provisions of the current collective agreement are subject to discussions between the parties.

The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.