Rail workers across Canada might see their collective agreement decided at the arbitrator’s table.
Teamsters Canada Rail (TCRC-CTY) workers rejected a second tentative labour agreement Thursday, prompting CN Rail officials to propose that the two parties go to binding arbitration to reach an agreement.
In a written statement, Claude Mongeau, CN President and Chief Executive Office, expressed disappointment that an agreement could not be reached.
“CN today tabled an offer to the TCRC-CTY to settle all unresolved contract issues through final binding arbitration to allow the parties to move forward without the prospect of labour disruption,” said Mongeau. “The union is now studying our proposal, and we have requested the TCRC-CTY respond to our offer by close of business tomorrow, March 21.”
TCRC-CTY have not provided as statement as of Friday morning.
In a statement released February 5, TCRC-CTY expressed concern that CN Rail management would not honour measures included in the collective agreement concerning fatigue management for workers. After a train carrying hazardous materials exploded in Lac Mégantic, Quebec. In 2013, rail safety, including worker fatigue, had become a key issue for the union.
In a February 3 letter to the Executive Vice President of CN Rail, Jim Vena, TCRC-CTY chairman R. Hackl expressed concerns that if fatigue measures were not properly observed an accident could be the result.
Should the union choose not to proceed to binding arbitration and instead strike, there remains a possibility that they will be legislated back to work. Federal Minister of Labour Kellie Leitch had indicated early in February that she would push through back-to-work legislation if the CN workers did go on strike.