CP Rail talks to resume in Calgary after unions reject railway offer

Galtero Lara
May 28, 2018

As per the statement, around 3000 conductors and locomotive engineers have voted 98.1 percent to reject final offer of Canadian Pacific on Friday, while about 360 signals and communications employees voted 97.2 percent to authorize strike action.

The vote results come amid an ongoing labour dispute at what is one of this country's largest railways, where conductors and engineers had been urged by the unions involved to reject the latest offer.

Teamsters Canada said 77 per cent of the eligible workers participated in the electronic vote administered by the Canadian Industrial Relations Board.

The union says negotiations with the railway will resume immediately in an attempt to reach an agreement without a work stoppage.

But it will exercise the right to strike if the talks fail or CP doesn't wish to bargain.

"CP is offering more of the same contract language that workers just voted to reject a few hours ago", TCRC president Doug Finnson said in a statement online.

"CP's actions have forced us to vote for strike action three times in the past six years".

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"It's now up to CP to listen and show they respect workers by changing their confrontational relationship with their employees, our members".

A CP Rail train rolls across the prairies into the rocky mountains of near Canmore, Alberta, April 28, 2017.

In the meantime, the railway promises to continue meeting with union representatives in the hopes of reaching a settlement before the strike deadline. Three years earlier, federal back-to-work legislation was enacted to end a 10-day strike.

Via Rail Canada, southern Ontario transit operator Metrolinx, and the The BC Rapid Transit Co. have all said a strike at CP Rail would result in disruptions.

"Our government believes in the collective bargaining process and I remain hopeful that the parties will be able to negotiate new collective agreements".

The Calgary-based railway has offered two per cent annual wage increases and $1,000 to each member to drop a series of filed grievances.

"We gave the Canadian Pacific every reasonable opportunity to negotiate and avoid a strike, but it only has gotten us nowhere", said the principal officer of the IBEW, Steve Martin, by issuing a press release.

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