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Vast majority of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference members back CP strike


The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) on Saturday announced a majority of its 3,800 members employed as locomotive engineers, conductors, trainmen and yardmen at Canadian Pacific voted in favor of launching a strike at the railroad to obtain a negotiated settlement.

The union and CP are in a 21-day cooling-off period, so a strike or lockout couldn't begin until Feb. 15. Ninety-three percent of voting TCRC members approved a strike action. The last contract between the union and railroad expired at 2014's end.

At CP's Soo Line subsidiary, 97 percent of unionized conductors recently rejected a contract proposal from CP, and shop craft employees and other mechanical workers represented by Unifor voted 97 percent in favor of a strike action last month, said TCRC President Douglas Finnson in a press release. Now, TCRC members similarly have shown a level of support for a strike action, he said.

With help from federal mediators, CP and TCRC officials are scheduled to hold bargaining sessions in Montreal today through Saturday.

CP on Tuesday announced it received an official notice from TCRC about its intent to strike if an agreement isn't negotiated.

The railroad had asked union officials to begin bargaining a new contract in December 2013, a year before the contract was set to expire, CP officials said in a press release. Despite the union's earlier commitment to consider protecting grain shipments and commuter service in Montreal if a strike occurs, "it appears now that will not be the case," they said.

"Canadian Pacific is committed to finding a workable solution with the union and continues to bargain in good faith," said Peter Edwards, CP's vice president of human resources and labor relations.

If a strike is launched, CP plans to implement its contingency plan by deploying qualified management employees to maintain a reduced service schedule on its Canadian network.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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