Auto Workers, Canadian National Reach Agreement

Auto Workers, Canadian National Reach Agreement

Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Auto Workers union reached a tentative contract agreement early Jan. 24 that heads off a potential strike that was less than a day away.

The CAW said the accord came "following a 48-hour marathon negotiation session." On Jan. 22, the union had served notice to the railroad that its employees would strike at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 25.

That is the first of two CAW strike deadlines against the two largest Canadian railroads. The union has also set a Feb. 8 strike deadline against Canadian Pacific Railway.

At CN, the CAW represents about 3,975 workers in Canada in four bargaining units of the railroad and its intermodal trucking subsidiary CNTL. Their jobs include mechanical work on locomotives, clerical and intermodal workers, excavator operators and owner-operator truckers.

CN said full details of the tentative agreements are being withheld pending ratification by the union membership, which the CAW expects to complete before the end of February.

But it said the agreements would "provide fair wage and benefit increases to CAW members," along with "progressive provisions that would help CN retain and attract skilled employees critical to its workforce" in coming years.

CAW National President Ken Lewenza said the new contract terms have "the full support of the CAW master bargaining committees. Leaders of union locals will go to Montreal to review those terms on Jan. 27, before the deal goes to a series of ratification meetings.

-- Contact John D. Boyd at jboyd@joc.com.