Unifor reaches late-night deal with CN

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Photo: flickr/Swoofty

Unifor and CN rail reached a deal, avoiding a lock-out of 4,800 workers at midnight last night. The next step is ratification, and over the next three weeks, 4,800 Unifor members will vote on whether or not to ratify a new collective agreement with Canadian National (CN) Railway.

Monday morning, at loggerheads over several issues unrelated to wages, the two sides met in Ottawa, in the hopes of reaching an agreement before the midnight lockout deadline. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services assisted in the negotiations, helping the parties reach common ground on several of the key stumbling blocks, including whether or not CN would make 5 cent per-hour per-worker contributions to Unifor's Canadian Community Fund.

Unifor represents 9,000 railway workers, more than half of whom work at CN. On February 15, the union was able to successfully reach an agreement with Canadian Pacific railway, where they represent 3,000 members. The terms of that contract set the standard which the union hoped to achieve at CN. That agreement included contributions to the Community Fund, as well as funding for women advocates in the workplace to help employes deal with domestic violence both within the workplace and at home.

"We're pleased that we were able to reach a negotiated agreement and avoid a major national lockout of our members," said Unifor President Jerry Dias in a press release, who added that the agreement was unanimously endorsement by all of the Unifor bargaining committees.

 Details of the agreement will not be disclosed until after ratification.

Ella Bedard is rabble.ca's labour intern. She has written about labour issues for Dominion.ca and the Halifax Media Co-op and is the co-producer of the radio documentary The Amelie: Canadian Refugee Policy and the Story of the 1987 Boat People.

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.