CN, union reach tentative deal to end strike

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MONTREAL – More than 3,000 workers will be going back to work after Canadian National and the Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference reached a tentative deal on Tuesday to end a week-old strike that shut down most of the Class Is operations in Canada.

While the details of the deal were not available, conductors, train persons and yard workers were expected to begin reporting for duty at 2 p.m. local time today and regular yard assignments will begin normal operations at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

“I am pleased to announce that we’ve reached a tentative agreement with CN. I would like to thank our members for their incredible courage and solidarity,” says Teamsters Canada President François Laporte. “I would also like to thank all the Teamster local unions from across different industries, all the labour organizations and members of the public who supported us on the picket line.”

“We want to thank our customers for their patience and support and assure them that CN is preparing to resume full rail operations as soon as possible,” says CN President and CEO JJ Ruest. “I would also like to personally thank our employees who kept the railroad moving safely at a reduced capacity. CN and its people are committed to moving the North American economy by providing freight service that enables economic growth.”

The agreement will be ratified by union members over the next several months.

The strike lasted for seven days and was beginning to take a major toll on the Canadian economy. Companies dependent on rail service began laying off employees across the country, including at Canada’s largest potash mine in Saskatchewan.

Meanwhile, in Quebec, farmers angry about a propane shortage drove tractors to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s riding office to try and convince the government to enact back-to-work legislation. Political pressure had been mounting on Trudeau to end the strike, but the Liberal government vowed to let the union and the railroad handle it.

“Previous governments routinely violated workers’ right to strike when it came to the rail industry. This government remained calm and focused on helping parties reach an agreement, and it worked,” Laporte says.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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