Anationwide shutdown of Canadian Pacific train operations started yesterday, due to an ongoing labour dispute between the railroad and its unionized engineers, conductors, yard workers and other train employees.
The shutdown follows a work stoppage by 3,000 members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference ahead of a planned lockout on Sunday that had been announced by the company earlier in the week.
The two sides have been in negotiations over a new contract since September. According to the TCRC, the main “stumbling blocks” to making progress in talks have been wages, pensions and working conditions. CP says it recently tabled an offer that addressed a total of 26 outstanding issues between the parties, but this was rejected by the union, chiefly over workers being forced to take federally mandated reset days away from home.
Given the impact of Canada’s second largest railway network shutting down amid an already-fraught global supply chain situation, the Trudeau government wants to see a deal to end the impasse immediately, but is currently not prepared to discuss the possibility of back-to-work legislation being tabled in parliament because the two sides are still at the bargaining table.
For now, the government is hoping the parties will be able to quickly reach an agreement and has indicated that it expects them “to do that ASAP… here in Calgary until they do.”
“CP and Teamsters Rail continue their work today. Canadians are counting on a quick resolution,” federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan tweeted yesterday. In an interview, he said both parties are aware that many Canadians are worried about supply chain disruptions, noting that the economy is still “reeling from COVID and from the floods that occurred through much of the West last year.”