Reacting to a failure to reach agreement with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, Canadian National has announced it will unilaterally increase wage rates and apply a change to the mileage caps for the company's locomotive engineers the union represents in Canada on CN. CN said its response comes after its collective bargaining with TCRC ended Nov. 20 without a settlement. The contract changes are to take effect beginning early Saturday morning, November 28. TCRC's current labor agreement with CN expired Dec. 31, 2008.
CN says it had informed the union last weekend of its intention to increase the engineers' wages by 1.5% and implement only one work rule change. At present, TCRC-represented conductors have a 4,300-mileage cap limitation, and TCRC-represented engineers have a 3,800-mile cap. With the work rule change, both groups of employees working in the locomotive cab will be working under one consistent rule, and the engineers will see an overall increase in their compensation. On average, CN says, its locomotive engineers presently work between 15 and 17 days per month.
CN says it has made several different offers to resolve these collective agreements, but claims all have been rejected by the TCRC. “CN also offered to refer the matters in dispute to binding arbitration, but the TCRC rejected this option as well,” the Class I railroad said in a statement. Under terms of the Canada Labour Code, the TCRC and CN are entitled to engage in a strike or lockout upon 72 hours' notice to the other party.