Unions overwhelmingly reject CP contract offers

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CALGARY, Alberta – Canadian Pacific and the unions representing the running trades and signal maintainers went back to the bargaining table on Friday after the rank and file overwhelmingly rejected the railway’s final contract offers.

In statements issued after the vote tally was announced on Friday afternoon, both sides seemed intent on avoiding a strike. The unions would have to issue a 72-hour notice before striking.

“CP is disappointed with the outcome of the vote given that both final offers provided for significant improvements to wages, benefits and working conditions that are consistent with agreements recently reached with other CP unions in both the United States and Canada,” the railroad said in a statement.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference membership voted down the contract, with 98.1 percent voting no, according to the union. The Teamsters represent 3,000 engineers and conductors on CP in Canada.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represents 360 signal maintainers, who voted 97 percent against the contract offer.

CP’s contract offer failed to address fatigue issues, the Teamsters said, and underestimated workers’ anger at what it called “the company’s abusive labour relations policy and management practices.”

“CP’s actions have forced us to vote for strike action three times in the past six years,” TCRC President Doug Finnson says. “Today, our members have again expressed their anger and frustration with CP. This is a reality check. It’s now up to CP to listen and show they respect workers by changing their confrontational relationship with their employees, our members.”

If a strike is called, the Teamsters said their members would still operate commuter train services in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.

CP CEO Keith Creel, who has aimed to improve labor relations since the January 2017 departure of former CEO E. Hunter Harrison, had appealed to union members in a video message.
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