Dear Customers and Supply Chain Partners,
We would like to update you on CN’s collective bargaining with the Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference (TCRC- CTY), which represents approximately 3,200 of CN employees working as train conductors and railyard coordinators in Canada.
As communicated earlier, the TCRC-CTY initiated strike action on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. Without our 3,200 conductors, we regrettably have been forced to wind down our rail operations as we do not have sufficient qualified Canadian managers to safely maintain freight operations during this strike.
We remain committed to working with the TCRC-CTY and the federal mediators in order to reach a fair agreement as quickly as possible that provides a safe working environment. The Company strives to safeguard our employees, our customers’ goods, our neighboring communities, and the environment at all times.
Safety is a core value at CN, that is why conducting all operations safely at all times is our top priority. The union claims that the strike was about safety, however those statements do not reflect our discussions.
In our view, our offers have been fair and address the needs expressed by the union, specifically:
- The offer is in line with agreement patterns we have struck with 7,000 other employees represented by 11 unions over the last 12 months. In 10 of those ratified agreements, the Company provided annual compensation adjustments better than inflation. Those agreements improved benefits including short-term disability, basic life insurance, maternity leave, vision care, dental and also included employee share purchase plans. The agreement also covers 1,000 independent owner/operators working for CNTL and includes compensation adjustments in line with the other agreements. Our offer is also in line with agreement patterns with this same union at other railways.
- The current average salary of a Canadian conductor is $114,000 plus benefits, including a defined benefit pension plan. The TCRC-CTY is seeking wage and benefit improvements beyond those negotiated with Unifor and another TCRC bargaining unit this year.
- In terms of safety, CN is dedicated to providing the leadership, organization, support, training and resources necessary to help achieve our goal of being the safest transportation company in North America. For example, we have ongoing Health and Safety committees across the country and at the national level with senior leaders of the union and the company. If there are safety concerns, these committees are designed to discuss such issues and find solutions.
As a solution to end this unfortunate work disruption, CN is proposing the parties submit their differences to voluntary binding arbitration. W e are prepared to present our arguments to a neutral arbitrator to end this dispute, and we hope the union will be willing to do the same. A neutral arbitrator could hear our positions and make a decision. Arbitration would get our 3,200 CN employees back to work in time for the holidays, and as ONE TEAM, we could all continue to serve our customers and the economy.
When an agreement is reached, we will re-establish the reliable service to which you are accustomed.
We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. We remain committed to minimizing the impact upon our customers, our supply chain partners, the Canadian economy, trade in general and the Canadian public.
We will keep you informed as events unfold, otherwise, we will update you at 08:00 EST Friday, November 22, 2019. Thank you for your business, your support and outreach as well as your continued partnership.
James Cairns, Senior Vice-President, Rail Centric Supply Chain
Keith Reardon, Senior Vice-President, Consumer Product Supply Chain
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