Teamsters vote to strike at CP

by MM&D Online Staff

CALGARY, Alberta—A strike or lockout is possible as early as February 15 after members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) voted 93 percent in favour of taking strike action in order to obtain a negotiated settlement with Canadian Pacific Railway.

The TCRC members are employed as locomotive engineers, conductors, trainmen and yardmen throughout Canada. The Teamsters Union and CP are within the 21 day cooling off period as provided for within the Canada Labour Code.

“CP has adopted a style of labour relations based on confrontation and establishing a culture of fear among the employees, including management”, explains TCRC President Douglas Finnson. In 2013 CIRB Decision 679 the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) found CP guilty of violating the Canada Labour Code stating: “By its actions, the employer has made it virtually impossible for the labour-relations system to work as it should.”

In subsequent months CP has been found guilty by the CIRB of multiple charges of unfair labour practices against the Unionized workers at CP. The most recent finding of guilt against CP was January 9, 2015.

“CP has provoked confrontation with their Unionized employees as often as they can, and their style of labour relations has resulted in the most massive contract rejection in the history of the railway industry”, explains TCRC President Finnson.

In a statement, the union reported that at the Soo Line, an American subsidiary of CP, 97 percent of the American based Conductors recently rejected a contract proposal from CP negotiators. Unifor who represents the CP Shop Crafts, and other mechanical workers voted 97 percent in favour of strike action last month, and now the Teamsters members similarly provide their bargaining committee with an unprecedented 93 percent level of support.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference is scheduled to bargain with CP in Montreal with the Assistance of Mediators from Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, February 10 to 14.