Rail workers reach tentative collective agreement with CN

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Just two days before rail workers could have walked off the job, Teamsters Canada Rail and CN Rail have reached a tentative collective agreement.

CBC reported Thursday that the agreement was reached when CN Rail returned to the table with new proposals. Workers would have been in a legal strike position this Saturday had the two sides not been able to find a workable solution.

In a statement released February 5, Teamsters 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, Teamsters Canada Rail chairman R. Hackl expressed concerns that if fatigue measures were not properly observed an accident could be the result.

Adding pressure to the negotiations were threats from federal Minister of Labour Kellie Leitch that she would push through back-to-work legislation if the CN workers did go on strike. A 2012 strike of CN Rail workers was ended after just six days after then Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt tabled similar legislation.

The collective agreement will not be publicized until CN workers ratify it later this week.

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