OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Political leaders across the country are breathing a sigh of relief after news Tuesday of a tentative deal in the CN Rail strike.
More than 3,000 CN Rail workers walked off the job on Nov. 19, but had been without a contract since July. They raised safety concerns, time-off provisions, and a lifetime cap on drug-insurance benefits as some of their main concerns during the strike.
CN claimed during the strike that it was operating at 10 per cent capacity. With businesses suffering due to the halt of freight movement, premiers and federal politicians say they are happy to see news of a tentative agreement.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney hit Twitter to say he’s hopeful. “Encouraging to see an [sic] tentative agreement reached between Teamsters and CN,” he tweeted.
The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Dwight Ball, called it good news for the whole country.
And Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he’s glad to see the deal was reached at the bargaining table.
“With free and fair negotiations, that’s good to see,” he said.
The Conservative Party took a different approach, claiming inaction from the prime minister in the strike had a significant cost for the economy.
“It’s good news that CN and Teamsters have reached a tentative deal, but the inaction from Justin Trudeau on this has already cost the Canadian economy over a billion dollars,” the party tweeted.
In a statement, federal Minister of Labour Filomena Tassi thanked mediators for their work.
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) November 26, 2019
“We congratulate and thank both CN and the Teamsters for staying at the table and coming to an agreement for the benefit of all Canadians,” she said. “These agreements are further evidence that when employers and organized labour work together, we get the best result for Canadians and for our economy.”
Trudeau tweeted: “Thanks to the workers, industry and all Canadians for their patience during these negotiations. We get the best results when employers, organized labour, and governments work together.”
After lots of hard work at the bargaining table, CN Rail and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference have reached tentative agreements, which means rail service will start being restored across Canada tomorrow morning. https://t.co/bHrIzTKhrB
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 26, 2019
Industry and provinces had been applying mounting pressure to the Trudeau Liberals to take some kind of action to bring the short but high-impact strike to an end, including the possibility of recalling Parliament early to introduce back-to-work legislation. The government resisted, insisting the best way to deal with the strike was to let the sides reach their own agreement – something that has been praised by the Teamsters Union.
Operations are set to resume on Wednesday at 6 a.m., though the deal has yet to be ratified by the union.
With files from Hana Mae Nassar and the Canadian Press