CN: Paid Sick Leave for IAMAW, NCFO, SMART-MD, IBB

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
(Photograph Courtesy of CN, via Twitter)

(Photograph Courtesy of CN, via Twitter)

CN is the fourth Class I to offer paid sick leave to U.S. craft railroaders. On March, it reported reaching an agreement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW); National Conference of Fireman and Oilers (NCFO); International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Mechanical Department (SMART-MD); and International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Blacksmiths (IBB) in the U.S.

In a precedent-setting move for the railroad industry, CSX on Feb. 7 reached agreements with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC) for paid sick leave; on Feb. 10, it added the IAMAW and NCFO; and on Feb. 14, added the IAM Roadway Mechanics division and the BRC Carmen for Fruit Growers Express Company division. The eight remaining unions, it is believed, will eventually accept the agreement.

UP on Feb. 20 followed suit, announcing it had reached an agreement with NCFO and BRC. And Norfolk Southern (NS) on Feb. 22, reported reaching an agreement with BMWED, and on Feb. 24, it added NCFO.

Now, CN has announced via Twitter that it has reached agreements with IAMAW, NCFO, SMART-MD and IBB in the U.S. to implement four paid sick leave days and up to three personal leave days to be used as sick days. “We look forward to further discussion with other unions on the matter,” it reported.


H.J. Res. 100, the House- and Senate-passed resolution that President Joe Biden signed into law on Dec. 2, 2022, imposed the Tentative Agreement resulting from President Emergency Board 250; it did not include paid sick leave.

While the House on Nov. 30, 2022, passed two resolutions (H.J. Res. 100 and H.Con. Res. 119) to impose on four holdout rail unions the Tentative Agreement accepted by eight others, and to amend that Tentative Agreement to include seven days of paid sick leave (that unions couldn’t gain in collective bargaining), the Senate on Dec. 1, 2022 agreed only to impose the Tentative Agreement.

CN, Unifor Bargaining

In a related development, CN on Feb. 17 reported that it has been in ongoing negotiations with Unifor since October 2022. “The union represents approximately 3,000 employees working in various departments such as Mechanical, Intermodal, and Facility Management, and in clerical positions in Canada,” according to the Class I railroad. “On December 16, 2022, Unifor filed for conciliation. CN remains committed to achieving a negotiated settlement and avoiding labor action. As part of that effort, CN tabled a comprehensive offer with the Union on February 14, 2023. The offer includes increases in net pay and benefits. It also resolves outstanding issues between the parties and provides improved working conditions for all represented employees.”

On March 5, CityNewsEverywhere reported that “Unifor Local 100 and Unifor Council 4000 have voted 98% and 97% in favor of a work stoppage after contract talks with the railway broke down last month.” According to the media outlet, “the two sides are scheduled to be back at the bargaining table in Montreal on March 13 in an attempt to get a new deal, which would prevent a possible walkout.” It noted that March 21 would be “the earliest workers could walk off the job.”

CN, which has a special webpage devoted to bargaining updates with Unifor, reported on the site: “We do not expect any labor action to impact our operations and we will continue to update this page throughout the process.”

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