CN on March 20 reported reaching new tentative collective agreements with Unifor, its largest union, covering approximately 3,000 Canadian employees working in departments such as Mechanical, Intermodal and Facility Management as well as in clerical positions.
The four tentative collective agreements cover members of Local 100, representing the skilled trades in mechanical shops, and Council 4000, representing intermodal, clerical, mechanics and excavator operators. No details will be released publicly until the agreements are ratified, according to the Class I railroad, which has been in ongoing negotiations with Unifor since October 2022.
“We are very pleased to have reached these tentative agreements,” CN President and CEO Tracy Robinson said. “CN has always been committed to achieving negotiated settlements to improve the conditions of this important group of employees as we continue our essential work moving the North American economy. We look forward to future collaboration with Unifor.”
“These negotiations were fraught with challenges, including demands for concessions by CN,” said Lana Payne, National President of Unifor, which is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. “With the solid support of the membership, the bargaining committees were able to stand up to this large profitable company and persevere to secure the tentative agreements.”
CN, which has a special website devoted to bargaining updates with Unifor, reported that the union filed for conciliation on Dec. 16, 2022 and that the railroad has remained “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 “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 were slated 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.”