CN Rail unions vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike action

Two unions currently in contract talks with CN Rail have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

Unifor Local 100 and Unifor Council 4000 have voted 98 per cent and 97 per cent in favour of a work stoppage after contract talks with the railway broke down last month.

Deals with the unions, which represent 3,000 workers in mechanical, intermodal, and clerical positions across the country, expired at last year’s end. Unifor says it had five bargaining sessions with CN since Oct. 2022.

On Dec. 9, 2022, the union filed for conciliation to move the bargaining process along and claims CN countered with an offer “demanding significant concessions.”

“So this is a company that grossed $1.42 billion in the last quarter and it’s unacceptable to our membership that the company would be tabling concessions,” Bruce Snow, Assistant to the National Officers at Unifor tells CityNews.

Snow says one of the main sticking points is CN Rail’s decision to change the age for early retirement, which was 55.

Snow adds 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.

CN said last month it had tabled a “comprehensive offer” that included increases in net pay and benefits while providing “improved working conditions for all represented employees.”

CN says it does not expect any labour action to impact its operations.

The earliest workers could walk off the job is March 21.

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