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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

CAW, CN reach tentative strike-averting agreements; Ontario Northland, steelworkers reach tentative pacts


Today, CN announced it reached tentative agreements with the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), averting a strike the union had planned to launch at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 25 if the parties failed to negotiate contracts.

If ratified, the agreements would “provide fair wage and benefit increases to CAW members,” CN officials said in a prepared statement. The pacts include “progressive provisions” that would help the Class I retain and attract skilled employees, they said.

Agreement details are being withheld pending ratification, which the CAW expects to complete before February’s end, CN officials said. The CAW represents about 3,975 workers at CN and CN subsidiary CNTL, including mechanical and clerical/intermodal employees, excavator operators and owner-operator truck drivers.

The CAW previously announced plans to issue a strike at Canadian Pacific — where the union represents 2,100 employees — at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 8 if a new contract isn’t negotiated with the Class I.

Meanwhile, the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) on Friday announced it reached a tentative agreement with the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1976. The pact involves two, four-year collective agreements that would cover more than 115 USW-represented customer service sales agents, rail traffic controllers, locomotive engineers and conductors.

The union plans to present details on the contracts to members at upcoming ratification meetings. Previous contracts with ONTC expired on Dec. 31, 2010.

Ontario Northland provides passenger-rail service between Moosonee and Toronto, Ontario, and freight-rail services on a 700-mile network in northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec.