CN announces lock-out of Unifor, putting safety at risk


TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2015 /CNW/ - Unifor has just been served lock-out notice by CN Rail for Monday night at 11 p.m. local time, a move that the union says has clearly demonstrated that CN has no desire to negotiate.

"CN has forced a labour dispute among its 4,800 workers across the country," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "From the beginning of talks five months ago, CN has demonstrated again and  again a total disregard for its employees and the collective bargaining process. We're willing to negotiate - why isn't CN?"

"CN has made the unilateral decision which will surely have negative consequences," said Dias. "Among the diverse membership at CN, one group is responsible for safety inspections and maintenance of all rail cars and locomotives. Beyond the very valid concerns about the economy brought on by a sudden lock-out - why isn't CN considering the safety of Canadians?" 

Dias said that late on February 15, CN made their one and only economic offer which did not take into account any of Unifor members' concerns. 

"Our bargaining committees who have been elected by our members rejected the offer and CN abruptly brought negotiations to a halt. Now they're locking out our members as of Monday night. 

We're calling on CN to get back to the bargaining table to  negotiate a fair settlement," said Dias.

Unifor will now begin preparations for the lock-out, including a series of membership information meetings across the country.

Unifor has six collective agreements with CN Rail, which cover mechanics, clerical workers, excavator operators, locomotive engineers (Savage Rail) and truck drivers. Unifor Local 100 represents skilled trades in mechanical shops and Unifor Council 4000 represents intermodal, clerical, mechanics and owner operators. Unifor is the largest union at CN with more than 4,800 members. The current collective agreement expired on December 31, 2014 and negotiations had been taking place since September.

Unifor represents 9,000 railway workers and 305,000 members across the country in every sector of the economy.