CN Rail, unions to return to bargaining in attempt to avoid strike action

By Erika Chorostil and John Marchesan

Two unions currently in contract talks with CN Rail are heading back to the bargaining table in Montreal Monday in an attempt to avoid strike action.

An assistant to the national officer tells CityNews the two sides will meet in an attempt to get a new deal together, preventing a possible walkout.

Deals with Unifor Local 100 and Council 4000 — which represent 3,000 workers in mechanical, intermodal, and clerical positions across the country — expired at the end of 2022.

This latest meeting comes after contract talks with the railway broke down last month. Unifor says it had five bargaining sessions with CN since Oct. 2022.

On Dec. 9, 2022, the unions filed for conciliation to move the bargaining process along and claims CN countered with an offer “demanding significant concessions.”

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Union members have voted 98 per cent and 97 per cent, respectively, in favour of a work stoppage unless concessions are removed.

“So this is a company that grossed $1.42 billion in the last quarter and it’s unacceptable to our membership that the company would be tabling concessions,” Bruce Snow, Assistant to the National Officers at Unifor previously told CityNews.

One of the main sticking points, the unions say, is CN Rail’s decision to change the age for early retirement, which was 55.

If no deal is reached, the date for the earliest possible strike action is Tuesday, March 21.

CN says it doesn’t expect any labour action to affect its operations.

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