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Potential Canadian rail strike hinges on government decision

Negotiations face significant challenges over crew scheduling and fatigue management.

Railway Tracks Midwest Pixabay

Abiola Odutola reported on the developments of a potential Canadian rail strike for The Brandon SunThe prospect of a significant rail strike by Teamsters Canada members awaits a crucial decision from the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) on essential services that must continue if a strike occurs.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) announced that nearly 10,000 workers at CN and CPKC have overwhelmingly reauthorized strikes if no agreement is reached. The reauthorization vote saw 98.6% in favor.

Originally, on May 1, members voted almost unanimously for strike action, set to begin on May 22. However, the federal labor minister suspended the strike right while the CIRB reviews necessary services. With the delay, the union requested a reauthorization, with conductors, locomotive engineers, and yard workers at CN and CPKC voting 98.4% and 99.2% in favor, respectively. Rail traffic controllers at CPKC voted 95.7% in favor.

Negotiations have been tough, with companies demanding concessions on crew scheduling, hours of work, and fatigue management. CPKC wants to eliminate safety-critical fatigue provisions, while CN proposes forced relocations and extended workdays.

The CIRB's decision will be pivotal in determining the union's next steps and the potential impact on the Canadian rail system and economy. Teamsters Canada, with over 125,000 members, is the countryโ€™s largest transportation and supply chain union.

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