Feds name arbitrator for CP labour talks

Seven weeks after they were legislated back to work, Canadian Pacific Railway’s engineers and conductors have a federal arbitrator named to resolve their labour contract with the company.

Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt on Thursday named Toronto lawyer William Kaplan to lead arbitration on a new contract between CP and the 4,800-odd railway employees represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference.

Raitt’s back-to-work legislation, Bill C-39, got royal assent May 31, ordering an end to the rail workers’ 10-day strike and the hiring of an arbitrator to "resolve the parties’ outstanding issues through an interest-based binding arbitration process."

Kaplan, Raitt said Thursday, was suggested by both CP and the union. Among his recent arbitrations were contract talks between Air Canada/Jazz Air and the Air Line Pilots’ Association.

In CP’s case, Kaplan has to render his decisions on outstanding contract points within 90 days of his appointment, unless Raitt grants an extension.

Outstanding issues for the affected employees, according to the TCRC, include work rules and scheduling, "fatigue management" and pension contributions.

Kaplan, a former law professor, was also one of the founding co-editors of the Canadian Journal of Labour and Employment Law. He started his arbitration and mediation practice in Toronto in 1989.

Related story:
Back-to-work bill’s assent restarts CP Friday, June 1, 2012

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