Talks fold on contracts for CN mechanics, clerical staff

About 4,800 unionized mechanics, clerical workers, excavator operators and truck drivers at Canadian National Railway (CN) will go into the new year without new contracts.

Unifor, whose locals have five collective agreements with Montreal-based CN, announced Thursday it’s been “unable to reach a new tentative collective agreement” in negotiations with CN since mid-September.

The company and union have agreed, however, to schedule meetings in January — after the contracts’ expiry on Dec. 31 — to continue the negotiations.

Unifor, the largest union at CN, said Thursday its negotiators have been putting in “long hours” at four separate CN bargaining tables, all meeting since Monday morning in Montreal.

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“There is frustration on the part of all of the bargaining committees that CN has refused to address the issues necessary that would help move discussions along,” Unifor president Jerry Dias said in a release.

“Some progress” was made over the week, the union said, but “several stumbling blocks on non-economic issues” have kept talks from moving forward.

Unifor Local 100 represents trades in CN’s mechanical shops, while Unifor Council 4000 represents intermodal, clerical, mechanics and owner/operators.

“CN is very profitable and continues to enjoy high productivity gains,” Dias said at the start of talks in September. “In this round of negotiations, we will be looking to ensure our members share in the improvements that they had a part in creating.”

The breakdown in talks between CN and Unifor follows a tentative four-year deal reached Dec. 8 between CN and United Steelworkers Local 2004, which represents about 3,000 CN maintenance-of-way employees.

USW’s last contract with CN also expires Dec. 31. The company said it expects the union will complete its ratification vote by the end of next month. — AGCanada.com Network

 

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