RailLine Volume 11 – Issue 12

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an orange and black semi truck

CN Transportation Ltd. (CNTL) Bargaining Update

As you are aware, the previous tentative memorandum of settlement (MOS) that was negotiated with CNTL on January 16, 2024, was not ratified by the membership. 

On that basis, on February 5, 2024, the Union wrote to the Minister of Labour to apply for the assistance of Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) in future bargaining. A conciliator was appointed to assist and both parties are now in conciliation. The conciliation process outlined in the Canada Labour Code, specifies timelines that the parties must follow including the Union conducting a strike vote. 

In the interest of transparency, the union informed the Company that before returning to the bargaining table with the assistance of FMCS, we will be conducting a strike vote.  Disappointingly, the union’s intentions to conduct the strike vote were met with resistance and outright disregard by CN. 

Despite the union’s clear intentions to engage our members democratically prior to meeting with the company, CN chose to respond with an apparent ultimatum: the union must continue to meet with the employer or else the employer’s latest offer will be presented directly to the membership. 

This act by the employer is not only frustrating, but also deeply disturbing. 

CN's attempt to circumvent a strike vote and present its global contract offer at this stage is fundamentally disrespectful to union members and undermines the collective bargaining process. 

Let us be clear: we will not be intimidated by the employer’s shameful behaviour. 

Your bargaining committee will not only share CN's global contract offer with you but also provide a link to the employer’s latest offer for full transparency. We strongly encourage all members to review the employer’s proposal thoroughly and advise all members that we believe it is in fact worse then the previously rejected tentative agreement.

We cannot understate how outrageous and disgraceful CN's tactics are. The employer’s attempt to sidestep your bargaining committee, issue ultimatums, prevent a strike vote, and ram through an insufficient offer is despicable at best. We have demanded that CN reverse its position and respect the integrity of the bargaining process as well as the collective voice of union members.

We anticipate a strike votes to be held in the second week of April. More details will follow. After the votes have been conducted your bargaining committee will be meeting on April 18 to finalize our bargaining agenda when we reconvene negotiations with CNTL from May 1-7.  

At that meeting, the union will make it clear that in order to reach a second tentative settlement, key items from the previous MOS must remain in tact.  These items include additional monetary improvements and adjustments to the previous agreement and provisions that address the tractor's age and idling time as well as issues that members raised during our ratification meetings held across the country from January 21 to February 2. 

We will continue to provide further updates as new information becomes available. The best way to prevent misinformation and rumours is to wait for official updates from the union. 

Please treat any messages from the employer with skepticism and any unofficial posts on social media as rumours. We anticipate that the employer will stop at nothing to attempt to subvert the bargaining process given its behaviour thus far.

Please contact your local Union Representatives or Regional Representative if you have any questions or require additional information.

Your continued support and solidarity is crucial as we strive to secure a fair and equitable collective agreement.

In solidarity,

The Unifor CNTL Bargaining Committee