Rail Line Volume 10, Issue 4

Main Image
A CN freight train.

Unifor to start strike vote at CN

Dear Members,

Unifor announced today that the union will be commencing strike votes at CN as of early next week.
Unifor’s two national bargaining committees continued contract negotiations with CN the week of February 13-17 in Montreal.  This was the fifth bargaining session with the Company since the parties formally opened bargaining on October 19, 2022.  The union filed a Notice of Dispute with Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) on December 16, 2022 and we have been negotiating with assistance of federal conciliators since then.

Although significant work has been done to this point in completing the majority of our work rule proposals, there still exists a couple of outstanding issues with Local 100, which include the employer making changes to the existing substance testing process under the company’s drug and alcohol policy. 

The union tabled our economic proposals on December 16th and instead of showing respect to our member’s demands, the company has completely ignored them and instead tabled their own monetary demands with significant concessions. CN’s offer falls well short of what the membership would see as being fair, especially in consideration of the company’s recent announcement of $1.42 billion in profits in the last three months of 2022.

The company’s concessions include, but are not limited to; accrued vacation entitlements, removal of the consent to early retirement (age 55), a flex benefit plan that in many cases does not expand on benefit coverage and will see members have to pay out of their own pocket for certain benefits, such as dental. Additionally, the company has a demand for Council 4000 members to forfeit their January 2 general holiday. At this point, the company has not confirmed if they will continue with their contributions to Unifor’s Paid Education Fund, which is used to educate and train our members and local leadership in dealing with various workplace issues in the interests of our rank and file membership.

The union expects that in the coming days, CN will engage in their own communications that undermine your bargaining committees and the demands that we tabled, which came from you, our members.

We remain committed to working towards negotiating the best agreements possible, which is why we will be seeking a strong strike mandate. We would ask all members to be skeptical of employer updates and not to entertain rumors that may circulate in the days ahead.      

We will be releasing additional information on times, dates and locations where strike votes will be conducted across Canada. 

In Solidarity,

Unifor Council 4000 and Local 100 Master Bargaining Committees

Media Contact

Hamid Osman

National Communications Representative