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At one minute past midnight this morning, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) members launched a strike at Canadian Pacific.
The parties were unable to reach an agreement despite last minute negotiations, union officials said in a prepared statement.
"We have made every reasonable effort to get a settlement,” said TCRC Vice President Doug Finnson.
Union and CP officials expect to resume bargaining talks this morning with the help of a federal mediator. In the meantime, the Class I has executed a “safe and structured shutdown” of its operations in Canada, said CP spokesman Ed Greenberg in an emailed statement.
“In addition to customer and supply chain impacts, the suspension of CP’s freight service will also impact many of the connecting railways with whom we do business,” he said.
To advance negotiations and as a “goodwill gesture,” commuter-rail services will continue to operate without disruptions in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, said Greenberg. Earlier this week, TCRC officials warned that commuter trains operated by the WestCoast Express in Vancouver, GO Transit in Toronto and Agence métropolitaine de transport in Montreal might be interrupted by the work stoppage.
The TCRC represents about 4,800 CP workers, including conductors, yardmen, locomotive engineers and rail traffic controllers. The parties have been negotiating since October 2011 to renew labor agreements that expired on Dec. 31, 2011.