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UTU-Canada asks appellate court to review CIRB's decision to reword representation election ballots

United Transportation Union-Canada is seeking judicial review of Canadian Industrial Relations Board's (CIRB) decision to reword documents prior to mailing representation election ballots to 4,449 Canadian Pacific Railway running trades employees in December.

In fall, UTU sought a winner-take-all representation election through CIRB. Last month, a majority of Canadian Counsel of Railway Operating Unions (CCROU)-represented CPR workers voted to dissolve that union — which comprised UTU and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers-Canada — and establish the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (formerly BLE-Canada) as their representative.

"When the UTU first applied to the CIRB for a winner-take-all representation election, the choice for CPR employees was whether they wanted to be represented by the UTU or CCROU," said UTU officials in a prepared statement. "But … the CIRB ruled that there would be a two-part ballot. The first question was to be whether CPR running trades employees wished to be represented by a bargaining agent other than the CCROU. The second question asked, 'If a majority of employees no longer wish to be represented by the CCROU, do you wish to be represented by the BLE or by the UTU?'"

CIRB later amended the second ballot question, replacing "BLE" with "Teamsters Canada Rail Conference."

Prior to ballot tabulations, UTU Canada filed an application for judicial review with the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal challenging CIRB's decisions to alter the ballots. The Teamsters also filed a judicial review at about the same time, UTU officials said.

UTU-Canada officials want the CIRB to rule whether the Teamsters are the legal successor to the BLE in Canada. In the meantime, the CIRB has not certified election results, UTU officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/24/2004