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Strike action postponed at CP

Workers to vote on offer; IBEW sees no 'chance in hell' at ratification

(TeamstersRail.ca)

Conductors, engineers and signal maintainers at Canadian Pacific Railway won’t be walking off the job Saturday, but will instead vote soon on a contract offer their unions recommend they reject.

Federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu on Friday agreed to a request from CP to have the Canadian Industrial Relations Board administer a ratification vote on the company’s “final offers” to the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council No. 11.

The CIRB will conduct electronic votes on the offers, the unions said late Friday, adding it’s “not yet known” when the vote will happen.

CP, which had begun a shutdown of its Canadian rail operations Friday ahead of a strike scheduled to start at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, will now “immediately” prepare to restart those operations, the company said in a release.

CP CEO Keith Creel, in the release, thanked the two unions and federal mediators “for their hard work, collaboration and openness to getting this situation resolved without a work stoppage.”

That said, spokesmen for both unions on Friday scoffed at CP’s offers and recommended their members vote to reject them.

Neither union would release specifics of the offers until workers are able to view them, but said the offers do “not satisfy workers’ concerns on fatigue and wages.”

“The fact that CP thinks their offer has a chance in hell of being ratified shows how out of touch they are with their employees,” Steve Martin, senior general chairman for IBEW System Council No. 11, said in a joint release.

“The government will bring this ridiculous offer to our members and we strongly recommend that members vote against it,” TCRC president Doug Finnson said in the same release.

Telling members “we have given nothing up,” Finnson said CP “will have exhausted all possible escape routes and they will face their workers once again” once workers vote against the offer.

The TCRC represents about 3,000 conductors and engineers at CP; IBEW represents about 360 staff who build, repair and maintain the railway’s signal systems in Canada.

The TCRC said its affected members currently have “over 8,000 grievances” on file against CP; IBEW said its CP members have filed “close to 300” grievances over the past three years.

Hajdu’s decision Friday was made on the recommendation of the federal mediators involved in the bargaining process, CP said. — AGCanada.com Network

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