A Message from your Unifor CN Bargaining Committees
Brothers and sisters,
Thank you for your important feedback and inquiries regarding the contract negotiations. On Friday, February 20, we were notified that CN plans to lock out our 4,800 members across the country. This news is shocking because CN is a very wealthy company and can certainly afford to negotiate a fair contract with its workers.
We will begin preparations for a lock-out, but are calling on CN to get back to the bargaining table. It is CN who abruptly halted talks on Sunday night.
As you are aware the bargaining committees have been working extremely hard to force CN to bargain a contract that is fair and recognized the enormous profits you create for CN.
It is unfortunate that CN has taken this course of action against its employees, after paying its top executives enormous salary, stock and bonus payments. Mr. Mongeau's compensation of the past four years has been a total of $32 million dollars, according to CN’s own reports. His pay is generated by CN profits that were earned as a result of the hard work and dedication of CN workers.
Workers deserve their fair share. That is what negotiations are about. When workers create enormous profits, as is the case at CN, they deserve to be rewarded with a fair contract. Negotiations have not and never will be about one issue. Negotiations are about changing the contract to address issues that have arisen during the term of the expired collective agreement, it’s about changing language and negotiating improvements in economics to improve the lives of workers and their families.
CN is refusing to provide you a fair contract. They have removed all previously agreed to changes to the agreement that they signed this round of bargaining. Their economic offer was an insult. CN is attempting to divert the attention from the contents of their offer by portraying these negotiations as being about one issue and it is not.
The union has developed a bargaining agenda in conjunction with membership input through surveys and meetings. The committee also reviewed past grievances and areas where the contract needs improvement. With all of that input and discussion we formulated a bargaining agenda. Do all members agree with every proposal? No. Some want us to concentrate on wages, others on benefits or time-off and language changes.
Your bargaining committee has been told that you are not going to share the wealth, that you will take what CN says and when they say it. CN has tried to get us to arbitration and has tried to get the federal government to act on behalf of CN.
Unifor has been clear we are going to NEGOTIATE an agreement. CN cannot run and hide and quite frankly, they are reacting in a manner that suggests they would rather intimidate than negotiate.
They are changing work rules to punish workers and your elected representatives. This affects you and your family. Mr. Mongeau’s role is not to pay fair wages and benefits, but rather to create wealth for him and CN. That means that less for you and more for them.
Unions are the vehicle that workers have the greatest chance of achieving some measure of fairness and progress. Collective strength is how we move ahead. It’s how we improve our working lives and provide for ourselves and our families.
We will continue to communicate with you openly and honestly, we will continue to keep you up to date. We ask that you attend our upcoming information meeting about the lock-out. More information will released about these meetings as they become available.
We want to thank all of the CN Unifor elected workplace leadership who attended the bargaining update meeting with CP to hear the contents of their contract, on February 19 in Montreal. We also want to thank the leadership for passing a motion that your CN Bargaining Committee negotiates the CP Unifor Agreement at CN. Thank you for the debate and discussion. We heard two things loud and clear, get more information out to our members and force CN to reward their workers for the profits you have created. The unanimous support of the leadership based on full knowledge of the process and our bargaining agenda was heard loud and clear.
We look forward to seeing you in the near future to give you a complete and honest accounting of CN’s conduct during this round of bargaining and why their campaign of deception will not prevail. We will all stand together for fairness.
Ken Hiatt Barry Kennedy
Local 100 President National Council 4000 President