TORONTO– Unifor members working at CN voted overwhelmingly in support of strike action amid ongoing negotiations in which CN has tabled a package of broad concessions.
Local 100 members voted 98%, and Council 4000 members voted 97% in favour of strike action. The earliest possible date of job action would be March 21, 2023, following a 72-hour notice.
“CN continues to report record quarterly earnings as a result of the work of Unifor members. In a time of massive profits, rail workers deserve to be compensated fairly and treated with respect. With these strike mandates they have shown they are united in these demands,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President.
Revenues at CN Rail reached $17.1 billion at the end of 2022, an increase of 18% from 2021. Meanwhile, profits reached $5.1 billion by the end of 2022 (increasing by 4.5% from 2021). A further $2 billion were paid out in shareholder dividends in 2022.
Unifor has five collective agreements with CN Rail, which cover mechanics, clerical workers, excavator operators. All 3,600 Unifor workers in Local 100 and Council 4000 are covered by these agreements – four of which will be negotiated during this current round of bargaining.
“Members are well-aware of the insulting concessionary package that CN continues to push at the bargaining table and with this vote, they’re uniting to push back,” Cory Will, President of Unifor Local 100.
Unifor’s two national bargaining committees have engaged in six bargaining sessions since the parties formally opened negotiations on Oct. 19, 2022. On Dec. 9, 2022, the union filed for conciliation to help progress negotiations.
The bargaining committees are set to meet with the employer again during the week of March 13.
“Unifor’s bargaining committees remain fully committed to reaching a collective agreement that recognizes the value and contributions of rail workers,” said Dave Kissack, President of Unifor Council 4000.
The union is asking CN to remove the concessions and negotiate a collective agreement that values their workers.
Unifor Local 100 represents skilled trades in mechanical shops and Unifor Council 4000 represents intermodal, clerical, mechanics and excavator operators. Unifor is the largest union at CN.