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CN, TCRC reach strike-ending agreement

The locomotive engineers’ strike is over for CN. Late yesterday, the Class I announced it reached an agreement with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) that, for the moment, resolves the parties' contractual disagreements.

The Class I and union — which represents 1,700 CN engineers — agreed to continue negotiations to resolve all issues related to wages, benefits and work rules. If no agreement is reached, the parties' wage and benefits offers will be subject to final binding arbitration.

CN and TCRC also agreed to submit work-rule issues to binding arbitration, but only if they mutually agree on ones that should be subject to arbitration. In addition, CN will roll back the monthly mileage cap for locomotive engineers to the previous 3,800 miles from the 4,300-mile cap initiated on Nov. 28, when TCRC launched its strike.

The mileage cap increase was the “most contentious issue,” said TCRC President Daniel Shewchuk in a prepared statement.

"Despite the threat of impending back-to-work legislation, it was made clear that any increase to the mileage cap would not result in an agreement" he said.

CN also will withdraw its plan to apply a 1.5 percent wage increase to TCRC members. The union's current contract expired on Dec. 31, 2008.

The agreed-upon process “gives the parties flexibility to negotiate issues further, but also ensures finality through binding arbitration of issues that remain in dispute,” said CN President and Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison — who plans to retire at month’s end — in a statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/3/2009