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Rail News: Labor

CN seeks binding arbitration after Teamsters rail conference again fails to ratify pact


CN yesterday announced it proposed binding arbitration to reach a contract settlement with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference-Conductors, Trainpersons and Yardpersons (TCRC-CTY) after union members failed to ratify a tentative agreement that had been reached by the parties on Feb. 5.

TCRC-CTY announced that 64.2 percent of active members returned ballots and the ratification count was 852 in favor, 891 against and eight "spoiled" ballots. The union — which represents 3,000 CN train conductors, trainpersons, yardpersons and traffic coordinators in Canada — failed to ratify a tentative CN agreement for the second time. TCRC-CTY members didn't ratify tentative agreements reached with CN in October 2013 after previous agreements between the parties expired in July 2013.

CN tabled an offer to the union to settle all unresolved contract issues through final binding arbitration to allow negotiations to move forward without the prospect of labor disruption, said CN President and Chief Executive Officer.
"The union is now studying our proposal, and we have requested the TCRC-CTY respond to our offer by close of business [today]," he said. "We hope the union will accept it in the current circumstances, given that CN's recovery from extraordinary winter weather that hampered operations is in its early stages. A labor dispute now would ill serve CN's customers, the Canadian economy or the company's employees."

Prior to the ballot count, CN proposed a final offer selection process to resolve outstanding issues if ratification wasn't successful, TCRC-CTY officials said in a prepared statement.

"The company has since advised us that they do not intend to meet with us for further negotiations unless it is to discuss conditions of arbitration," they said.