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TCRC strike update: CN makes pitch to end walkout, union claims Class I has rejected several offers


In an effort to break a negotiations impasse with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and end the locomotive engineer strike, CN yesterday agreed to binding arbitration on wage and benefit issues.

The Class I also agreed to “roll back” engineers’ 4,300-mile monthly cap to 3,800 miles if the union withdraws its work-rule demands from the bargaining table.

“Contrary to the TCRC's claim this morning, CN has not seen substantive movement by the union to end the locomotive engineers' strike that started Nov. 28,” CN officials said in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, the union persists in raising the same issues the parties have negotiated for 14 months.”

TCRC previously offered to submit the wage portion of the dispute to final and binding arbitration upon successful resolution of other outstanding issues. If the union agrees to CN’s offer, the Class I would draft an agreement to resolve the labor dispute.

TCRC officials claim the change in the amount of miles required to be worked by engineers each month was arbitrarily increased from 3,800 to 4,300, which would have resulted in the loss of about 220 engineer positions. The union, which represents 1,700 CN engineers, has made several offers to resolve the dispute, but the Class I has rejected them, TCRC officials said in a statement. The union members’ previous contract with CN expired on Dec. 31, 2008.

“If CN had accepted our initial offer, the issues could have been resolved by now,” said TCRC President said Daniel Shewchuk. “Instead, we are still at an impasse.”

Meanwhile, the Canadian government on Monday introduced legislation aimed at ending the strike.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/2/2009