Teamsters Canada Rail Conference-Running Trades (TCRC) has provided official notice of its intent to strike in the event there is not a negotiated settlement, Canadian Pacific said Tuesday evening, February 10.
The TCRC represents more than 3,000 active locomotive engineers and conductors at the CPR. A work stoppage can occur as early as 12:01 a.m. on February 15, 2015.
TCRC President Douglas Finnson said in a statement that the union is determined to achieve a negotiated settlement that addresses the issues they face on a daily basis.
“CP is completely unable to provide the majority of our members with any sort of accurate information on when they are required to work,” he said. “The CP negotiators have admitted their line-up model is completely unpredictable and they are simply unable to fix it. Furthermore, CP is either unwilling or unable to comply with the collective agreements that require train crews to stop operating and obtain rest after 10 continuous hours of work.”
These two examples represent significant issues for the train crews that union negotiators want to fix.
The Teamsters are in Montreal meeting with CP with the assistance of federal mediation and conciliation services. The union is optimistic that CP will be able to agree with an acceptable set of terms the membership will ratify.
“The Teamsters are here to negotiate,” Finnson said.
Meanwhile, Peter Edwards, CP’s vice-president for Human Resources and Labour Relations, said the company’s offers “included wage increases, better benefit plans, and the re-instatement of the Employee Share Purchase Plan in a long-term agreement.”
“We also proposed a model that will improve the scheduling of regular time off and quality of life while enhancing our service and efficiency, but the union has not been interested,” he said.
Edwards said that, subject to the union’s decision to strike, CP will implement “its extensive contingency plan by deploying qualified management employees to maintain a reduced freight service on its Canadian network.”
CP will work with its customers to advise them on how this work stoppage will affect them, a statement from the company said.
There are five long-term collective agreements in place between CP and its Canadian unions, including two with Teamsters unions. The Rail Traffic Controllers (TCRC-RTC), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Teamsters Maintenance of Way employees (TCRC-MWED), Police (CPPA) and United Steel Workers (USW) have all ratified long-term deals with acceptance rates between 90 and 97.5 per cent, the company statement said.