Another union serves CP with strike notice

(Dave Bedard photo)

Barring last-minute deals or back-to-work legislation, staff handling locomotive and rail car inspection, maintenance and repair at Canadian Pacific Railway may join the company’s engineers and conductors on strike Sunday.

Unifor, which represents about 1,800 CP employees, announced Thursday it served CP late Wednesday night with strike notice for 12:01 a.m. Sunday (Feb. 15), following five months of contract talks.

The union’s announcement follows a similar notice served Tuesday for the same date and time by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), representing CP’s locomotive engineers, conductors, trainmen and yardmen.

Unifor president Jerry Dias, in a release Thursday, said the union’s members at CP are frustrated with working conditions at CP and voted 97 per cent in favour of strike action. The affected workers’ previous agreement expired Dec. 31.

“CP is incredibly profitable — 2014 was the best year ever for the railway, there is no reason that we should not be able to reach a fair agreement before the deadline,” he said.

The company, he said, is “delivering more freight with far fewer workers. This is increasingly posing health and safety concerns and more strain on our members, which we are determined to resolve at the bargaining table.”

Unifor, like the TCRC, noted it’s also in talks with Canadian National Railway (CN) in Montreal. In both unions’ cases, CN employees have not yet taken a strike vote or set a strike deadline. Unifor’s contracts with CN also expired Dec. 31.

The TCRC, which represents CN’s engineers, previously said it expected to also be in strike position at CN within days, as a 21-day “cooling off” period expires following the end of conciliation talks. — Network

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