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Engineer and conductor contract talks stall between CP, Teamsters


Negotiations have stalled between the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and Canadian Pacific concerning a new agreement covering 3,800 locomotive engineers and conductors, TCRC officials announced late last week. The existing contract expires Dec. 31.

The TCRC filed a mediation request with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service due to the halt in talks.

"The negotiations have stalled because we think the employer isn't committed," said Doug Finnson, TCRC's chief negotiator, in a press release. "They want significant concessions, a dramatic increase in working hours out of each employee [and to] provide less rest hours, and within an industry plagued by fatigue already."

The main sticking point in negotiations between the parties is still the question of how to manage worker fatigue, and does not concern wages or the pension plan, union officials said.

"We're insisting on fatigue management because we want to make sure our members — and the public — are as safe as possible," said Finnson.

The railroad has attempted to address worker fatigue by proposing a scheduling framework that allows for greater predictability, so employees know when they will work and when they will be off, CP officials said in an emailed statement.

The Class I was committed to finding a workable solution with the TCRC, evidenced by the railroad asking the union to begin discussions on a new agreement a year ago, they said, adding that the union broke off negotiation sessions last week and CP is waiting to hear back from the TCRC.

"We offered a number of positive changes up front — including wage increases, better benefit plans, eliminating waiting periods for new employees and the reinstatement of the employee share purchase plan," CP officials said. "We offered that all of these enhancements be in place at the signing of the agreement in advance of their existing contract expiring — as we did successfully with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference-Rail Canada Traffic Controllers this summer."

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More News from 11/24/2014