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CN, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference disagree on potential impacts of Class I's proposed contract concessions

CN is seeking conciliation in its contract negotiations with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), according to the union, which represents 3,300 conductors, trainmen, yardmen and traffic coordinators at the railroad. The parties' previous collective agreement expired on July 22.

There could be a repeat of negotiations conducted in 2010, when a strike was narrowly avoided, because the concessions sought by CN would impact health and safety issues, TCRC officials said in a press release. Union leaders believe the concessions will reduce the number of TCRC-represented workers at CN via retirements and increase the workload for other members.

"CN is once again trying to get us to make concessions that would see our members work longer hours, be onboard the trains, have less rest time between each trip and perform more work when alone," said Roland Hackl, a TCRC spokesperson. "Our members have to be properly trained and be sufficiently rested to ensure the safety of people living close to rail tracks. Many of our members are currently on duty for a 12-hour shift, go home for eight hours and then come back for another 12 hours."

CN does not comment on ongoing labor negotiations as a matter of policy, but none of its bargaining proposals would in any way compromise the health and safety of TCRC members, said CN spokesman Mark Hallman in an email.

"Indeed, it is our opinion that our proposals would positively affect the health and safety of our employees," he said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/24/2013