Although Canadian National (CN) Rail and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC-CTY) have been in negotiations for the past six months, they failed to reach an agreement by the November 19, 2019, deadline. Christopher Monette, spokesperson for the Teamsters, advised yesterday that the strike will begin. The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC-CTY) represents about 3,200 CN employees working as train conductors and railyard coordinators in Canada. Although CN deployed their qualified managers and engineers to run their train operations, they have determined they do not have enough qualified Canadian managers to maintain safe freight operations during the strike.
Ocean carriers are closely monitoring the situation and customers are advised to ensure their truckers check the status of import containers prior to arrival at the terminals.
The following is an excerpt from the CN Rail announcement to its customers and supply chain partners on November 20, 2019:
As communicated yesterday, the TCRC-CTY has initiated strike action. Without our 3,200 conductors, we unfortunately have been forced to wind down our rail operations as we do not have sufficient qualified Canadian managers to safely maintain freight operations during this strike.
We remain committed to working with the TCRC- CTY and the federal mediators in order to reach a fair agreement that provides a safe working environment. The company strives to safeguard our employees and assets, our customers’ goods, our neighboring communities, and the environment at all times. Conducting all operations safely at all times is the top priority.
We have also taken reasonable steps to avoid an economic disruption by offering binding arbitration with a neutral arbitrator chosen by the parties or appointed by the Federal Government. We have also offered to continue bargaining until April 1st, 2020 to allow more time to come to an agreement. Unfortunately, the TCRC- CTY leadership rejected these offers thus far.
When an agreement is reached, we will re-establish the reliable service to which you are accustomed.
We apologize for the inconvenience this will cause. We remain committed to minimizing the impact upon our customers, our supply chain partners, the Canadian economy, trade in general and the Canadian public.
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as additional information is available. For more information, please contact your Noatum Logistics (Formerly MIQ Logistics) local representative.