Friday, March 21, 2014

CN proposes binding arbitration with TCRC-CTY

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
CN proposes binding arbitration with TCRC-CTY Financial Post
CN on March 20, 2014 proposed binding arbitration to reach a contract settlement with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference-Conductors, Trainpersons and Yardpersons (TCRC-CTY) after the union advised that the tentative labor agreement negotiated with CN on Feb. 5, 2014 was not ratified by rank-and-file members.

The TCRC-CTY, Canada’s largest rail union, represents approximately 3,000 CN train conductors, trainpersons, yardpersons, and traffic coordinators on CN’s Canadian network. The union said 64.2% of union members voted 891 to 852 against the new agreement.

“This is the second tentative contract that the TCRC-CTY has not ratified this year,” said CN President and CEO Claude Mongeau. “We are disappointed that our tentative agreement with the TCRC-CTY narrowly failed ratification following extensive negotiations with the union’s bargaining committee.”

“We have tabled an offer to the TCRC-CTY to settle all unresolved contract issues through final binding arbitration to allow the parties to move forward without the prospect of labor disruption,” Mongeau said. “The union is now studying our proposal, and we have requested the TCRC-CTY respond to our offer by close of business March 21. We hope the union will accept it in the current circumstances, given that CN’s recovery from extraordinary winter weather that hampered operations is in its early stages. A labor dispute now would ill-serve CN’s customers, the Canadian economy, and our employees.”

CN and TCRC-CTY regularly negotiate pay, hours of service, and other labor provisions. A three-year contract proposal from CN in October 2013 prompted threats of a strike earlier this year after union members voted it down. CN and union leadership came to the new agreement last month after Canada’s Conservative government said it would enact back-to-work legislation if necessary to keep the railroad operating.

CN is struggling to move 5,500 cars of grain a week under government edict to cope with a huge backlog from a record-shattering harvest in 2013 that has been worsened by service disruptions caused by the bitterly cold winter.