Canadian National Railway, union reach tentative deal to end strike
MONTREAL — Teamsters Canada says it has reached a tentative agreement with Canadian National Railway Co. to renew the collective agreement for over 3,000 conductors, trainpersons and yard workers.
The union said normal operations at CN will resume Wednesday at 6 a.m. local time across Canada.
Details of the agreement, which must be ratified by union members, were not immediately available.
The workers began their strike, which brought freight trains to a halt across the country, last week.
The federal government had faced mounting pressure to resolve the strike — either through swift mediation, binding arbitration or back-to-work legislation — as premiers and industry voiced concerns about lost profits and a critical propane shortage in Quebec.
However the government said it believed that the quickest way to resolve the dispute would be a negotiated settlement reached at the bargaining table.
The union thanked the prime minister for respecting the workers’ right to strike and acknowledged the help of Labour Minister Filomena Tassi, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and the federal mediation and conciliation service in reaching the deal.
“Previous governments routinely violated workers’ right to strike when it came to the rail industry. This government remained calm and focused on helping parties reach an agreement, and it worked,” Teamsters Canada president Francois Laporte said.
The railway workers had raised worries about long hours, fatigue and what they considered dangerous working conditions.
CN rejected the union’s claim that the strike concerns workplace health and safety, suggesting instead that it revolves around worker compensation.