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CP Rail unions reject latest offer

CP Rail unions reject latest offer

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference opposed the contract by a 98 per cent vote

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The unions representing employees at Canadian Pacific Railway have voted against the company’s latest contract offer.

About 3,000 members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) rejected CP’s offer by a 98.1 per cent margin. And the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents nearly 370 signal and communications employees, voted 97 per cent against the offer.

The railway’s three-year contract proposal included 2 per cent year-over-year wage increases, $1,000 per union member to drop grievances, and benefit improvements.

The two sides are expected to resume negotiations later today, but the employees will strike if they feel it is necessary.

“This is a reality check,” Doug Finnson, president of the TCRC, said in a statement today. “Should talks fail or CP not wish to bargain, workers will have no choice but to exercise their legal right to strike.”

CP, however, felt its latest offer is fair and addresses the issues at hand.

“CP is disappointed with the outcome of the vote given that both final offers provided for significant improvements to wages, benefits and working conditions that are consistent with agreements recently reached with other CP unions in both the United States and Canada,” the railway said in a statement today.

Patty Hajdu, Canada’s minister of employment, workforce and labour, remains optimistic that a deal can be reached.

“Our government believes in the collective bargaining process and I remain hopeful that the parties will be able to negotiate new collective agreements,” she said in a statement today.

Hajdu mandated last month that CP present its offer to union members in a vote carried out by the Canadian Industrial Relations Board.

The unions must give the railway 72 hours notice before launching a strike. CP has not received notice at this point, it said.

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