The union representing about 3,000 conductors and train and railyard workers at Canadian National Railway agreed late yesterday to restart labor contract negotiations with the railroad and accept final and binding arbitration if a deal can’t be reached.
The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference – Conductors, Trainpersons and Yardpersons’ decision greatly reduces the chances of a strike. The union had said a strike could come as early as Monday, March 24. Mediators from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service are helping the union and railroad forge a three-year contract.
“With a process assuring contractual certainty, CN and the Teamsters can continue working on the company’s recovery from an extraordinarily cold winter that hampered operations, and help our valued customers across Canada get their goods to market,” CN CEO and President Claude Mongeau said in a statement.
CN has grappled with moving a bumper grain crop during a harsh winter, drawing criticism from farmers and an order from the Canadian government to move more grain or face stiff fines. CN and Canadian Pacific Railway, which was also ordered by Ottawa to move more grain, have said the severe winter has forced them to slow intermodal and carload trains and cut train cut train lengths, lowering capacity.