Teamsters Canada: Tentative deal reached with CN to end strike

Andrew Cummings
November 27, 2019

CN rejected the union's claim that the strike concerned workplace health and safety, suggesting instead that it revolved around worker compensation.

"These agreements are further evidence that when employers and organized labour work together, we get the best results for Canadians and for our economy", Tassi and Garneau said in the joint statement.

"I would also like to personally thank our employees who kept the railroad moving safely at a reduced capacity", Ruest said in a statement.

The deal must now be ratified by Teamsters members via secret-ballot electronic voting, which CN Rail said in a statement it expected to take eight weeks.

And Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he's glad to see the deal was reached at the bargaining table.

(MENAFN - There appears to be no end in sight for the strike at Canadian National Railway Co.

The world's biggest fertilizer producer, Nutrien Ltd., said Monday that it would curtail production at its largest potash mine due to the strike and shut the facility for two weeks on December 2.

But Garneau resisted calls to force workers back to work, urging the two sides to hammer out a settlement. "I would like to thank our members for their incredible courage and solidarity", said the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh pointed out that the Liberal government introduced back-to-work legislation when Canada Post workers launched a series of rotating strikes a year ago.

As Canada's biggest rail strike in a decade dragged on, industry has piled pressure on the government to intervene.

Brian DePratto, a senior economist at TD, estimated the dispute would cost less than 1 billion Canadian dollars ($751.82 million) in direct impact and weigh on fourth-quarter growth by a modest 0.1 percentage points.

Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers in Canada in all industries, including over 16,000 in the rail sector.

Keir Miller, chairman of the New Brunswick Grain Commission, said propane deliveries to farmers, which were curtailed Sunday, were unlikely to resume until the weekend.

"These impacts will continue to be felt for the foreseeable future as it takes approximately a week to move the backlog created per day of disrupted service", the association said in a release.

He adds there should not be any layoffs at CN, something the railway indicated was going to happen prior to the strike. "This is crunch time for our cash flow and producers need to move grain to get paid".

The deal came a day after Nutrien Ltd. announced that it would temporarily shut down and lay off 550 employees at its largest potash mine in southeastern Saskatchewan for two weeks starting December 2 due to the strike.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe deemed the deal "absolutely a positive - not only for Saskatchewan and our export industries that rely on our rail service, our export transportation, but I think it's a sigh of relief for the entire nation".

The Montreal-based rail company had cut its 2019 profit outlook in October and then confirmed job cuts in mid November.

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