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Canadian Pacific to Lock-Out Employees in 72 Hours

Railway says it will halt Canadian operations if union talks fail

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. has issued 72-hour notice to the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC)-Train & Engine of its plan to lock-out employees on March 20, 2022 if the union leadership and the company are unable to come to a negotiated settlement or agree to binding arbitration.

“For the sake of our employees, our customers, the supply chain we serve and the Canadian economy that is trying to recover from multiple disruptions, we simply cannot prolong for weeks or months the uncertainty associated with a potential labor disruption,” said Keith Creel, CP president and CEO.

“The world has never needed Canada’s resources and an efficient transportation system to deliver them more than it does today. Delaying resolution would only make things worse. We take this action with a view to bringing this uncertainty to an end.”

Canada, along with Russia and Belarus, is one of the main sources for the world’s potash, a commonly used fertilizer that contains potassium.

A potential work stoppage comes amid concerns of shortfalls in supplies amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions on Belarus.

The railway says it has been negotiating in good faith since September and over the past week, Canadian Pacific (CP) and the TCRC leadership have been meeting daily with federal mediators to reach a new negotiated collective agreement in hopes of avoiding a labor disruption. Despite those talks, CP says positions remain far apart.

The locomotive engineers, conductors, trainpersons and yardpersons employed with CP Rail recently voted 96.7% to authorize strike action.

“It was well known that CP was going to force a work stoppage and lockout our members. They have done just that,” said Dave Fulton, spokesperson for TCRC.

“At the bargaining table, CP continues to dismiss our members’ demands and are unwilling to negotiate the issues they have created. We remain committed to reaching an acceptable agreement that addresses our members issues. Our members are fully engaged and will be ready in the event CP carries out the notice.”

Yesterday, CP says it tabled an offer that addressed a total of 26 outstanding issues between the parties, including an offer to resolve the TCRC’s key issues of wages, benefits and pensions through final and binding arbitration.

CP says it has commenced its work stoppage contingency plan and will work closely with customers to achieve a smooth, efficient and safe wind-down of Canadian operations.

TCRC represents approximately 3,000 locomotive engineers, conductors, train and yard workers across Canada.

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