Watch Now

CN confirms IBEW members are on strike

Canadian railway says operations continuing with contingency plan

A CN train. (Photo: Shutterstock/RickDeacon)

Canadian railway CN says operations are continuing after members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) went on strike Saturday.

CN (NYSE: CNI) has deployed a contingency plan that allows it to maintain a normal level of safe rail operations across Canada and serve its customers for as long as required, the railway said Monday.

“While the company is disappointed with the current situation, CN remains committed to finding a resolution and it continues to encourage the IBEW to end its strike through an agreement or through binding arbitration,” CN said in a release.

A letter from Rob Reilly, CN’s chief operating officer, to union members is available here.

FreightWaves reached out to IBEW, which was unavailable for comment.  

CN said last week that the strike, which went into effect at 11 a.m. EDT on Saturday, would affect approximately 750 employees in Canada. CN also said unresolved issues are predominantly related to wages and benefits.

The strike is occurring as CN’s U.S. operations are involved in ongoing negotiations over a new labor agreement. The National Mediation Board last week offered arbitration to the freight railroads and the unions, ending weeks of negotiations. If arbitration isn’t accepted, the parties will enter a 30-day cooling-off period, after which President Joe Biden will appoint a board to look into the matter and provide recommendations via a report. An agreement could be reached based on that report or Congress may intervene and work with both sides.

In late 2019, Teamsters Canada members went on a strike at CN that lasted over a week. About 3,200 workers were affected. 

Subscribe to FreightWaves’ e-newsletters and get the latest insights on freight right in your inbox.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.