CP Teamsters go on strike
Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Source: American Shipper
Canadian Pacific’s 3,000-plus conductors and locomotive engineers represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) went on strike at 2200 ET Tuesday after failing to reach a negotiated contract.
The labor strike comes after CP dealt with harsh winter weather in Q1 that bogged down the quarter’s net earnings 19.3 percent year-over-year to $348 million Canadian (U.S. $270.8 million), as well as a grain backlog during the quarter that left shippers enraged.
The Alberta Wheat and Alberta Barley Commissions wrote a letter Monday to Patricia Hajdu, minister of employment, workforce development and labor, saying how devastating a strike at CP would be on farmers and other producers. “Presently, the grain sector in Western Canada is only now beginning to recover from a severe rail backlog which left many farmers unable to deliver and get paid for their grain on pre-established contracts with shippers,” the letter said.
Meanwhile, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) is urging the government to consider the economic implications the strike activity and work stoppage at the railway is having on the industry and to take early action to prevent further serious damage to the Canadian economy.
CIAC said Wednesday its members rely exclusively on rail to ship about 80 percent of their production.
“The immediate impacts of the CP strike on our members are severe and long-lasting. For many of our members, they are captive to CP — there are no alternatives for their shipments,” CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson said. “Some of these goods are used in essential health and safety applications, such as municipal water treatment plants. Canadian citizens could feel the effects of this work stoppage in a matter of days, according to our members.”
Teamsters Canada said Tuesday night that contract negotiations with the railway are ongoing and it will remain at the bargaining table during the strike, explaining that it’s committed to working with federal mediators and reaching a negotiated settlement.
CP is the second largest of Canada’s two Class I railways, the first being Canadian National.
Although CP has declined to comment on the Teamsters strike, the railway did issue a release Tuesday, saying that it reached a tentative three-year deal with System Council No. 11 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents about 360 signals and communications employees at the railway.
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