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CanadaNewsRail

CN warns of ‘significant disruption’ as strike continues

Federal minister urges Canadian National and Teamsters to reach agreement as walkout by 3,200 conductors, transpersons and yard workers continues.

Ahead of a new round of contract talks, Canadian National (NYSE: CNI) warned of a “significant disruption” to service from the ongoing strike by about 3,200 employees. 

“We are disappointed that the TCRC (Teamsters Canada Rail Conference) has initiated strike action,” Janet Drysdale, CN’s vice president of financial planning, said during the Scotiabank Transportation and Industrials Conference on Nov 19. 

Drysdale did not detail the specific impacts of the strike by conductors, transpersons and yard workers, which began at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 19. But any significant disruption to Canada’s largest rail network could hurt the national supply chain and economy since CN transports more than C$250 billion in goods each year. 

The federal government, which has been mediating talks between CN and the Teamsters, urged the two sides to reach an agreement. 

“The government of Canada understands the importance of the rail industry and its workers to the Canadian economy,” Labor Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement. “While we are concerned about the impact of a work stoppage on Canadians, we remain hopeful they will reach an agreement.”

The CN and Teamsters officials were slated to return to contract talks later in the day Nov. 19. At issue are safety, work conditions and benefits. 

“Unfortunately, we were unable to reach a deal with CN. The company remains unwilling to address our members’ health and safety issues. As a result, CTY members at CN will be on strike,” the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference wrote in an update to members

Earlier, Chief Operating Officer Rob Reilly said, “If a settlement cannot be reached this weekend, we will once again encourage the union leadership to accept binding arbitration as an alternative to disrupt the Canadian economy.”

The CN workers have been without a contract since July. 

The strike followed an announcement by CN that it planned to cut jobs in response to worsening economic conditions. 

Joanna Marsh of FreightWaves contributed to this story.

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist who covers Canada for FreightWaves. He spent seven years as an investigative reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley.

16 Comments

  1. ……
    Railroad Workers United

    Quote :

    RWU Fallen Rails Program

    Railroaders Killed in the Line of Duty

    Our brothers & sisters continue to be killed on the job and what we see from the railroads are continuous testing harassment and ineffective “blame the worker” safety programs.

    We must continue to build the rank-and-file solidarity that will empower us to take real action when it comes to on-the-job safety. Meanwhile, RWU will continue to honor every fallen brother or sister, regardless of craft or union.

    By no means can we guarantee that our list below is complete, but we will try to make it as complete as possible and it will remain a work in progress for quite some time. If you know of anyone that we missed on this list, please email the webmaster with the information. At the bottom of this page you will find some links to various railroad injury & fatality references. Thanks.

    Unfortunately, according to OSHA statistics, there are an average of 13 on-the-job fatalities in the entire U.S. workforce each day.  Over 4,800 workers were killed on-the-job in 2015.

    Although by law, we are entitled to a safe workplace and it is our employers’ responsibility to provide it, we are continuing to see less enforcement of the safety laws by the government agencies who are required to enforce those laws.  The current administration and Congress continues to strip enforcement capabilities by reducing the powers and budgets of those vital agencies. 

    Also, we continue to see the reluctance of corporate owned, national media to focus any light on workers’ fatalities and injuries and the glaring lack of enforcement of safety regulations. 

    As a part of our efforts to promote safety for all railroaders, we also want to help promote safe work sites for all workers.  In that effort we work to publicize ALL on-the-job fatalities.

    The blog, CONFINED SPACE, is a newsletter of workplace safety and labor issues.  We heartily recommend it.

    2019
    September 25, 2019 – Montgomery County VA – A 40 year old Norfolk Southern employee was killed in a tragic work accident while driving his NS fuel truck. Keith Whited was a member of BMWED Affiliated System Federation Local Lodge 571 and was a 10 year NS employee. According to a sheriff’s office Captain, an investigation showed that the Norfolk Southern truck over-corrected while trying to maintain control on the windy road and the truck crossed the center line and struck an oncoming SUV. Whited is survived by his wife and two stepsons.

    September 6, 2019 – Shreveport LA – A 36-year-old Union Pacific employee was killed while working as a conductor. Bruce “Andy” Dominique Jr. was reportedly walking beside his train when it collided with a semi-truck at a crossing and the truck wrapped around the front of the locomotive and pinned Dominique in the cab of the truck.  He was survived by his wife, father and brother.

    August 20, 2019 – Beaumont TX – A Union Pacific employee was killed when he was crushed between two rail cars during switching operations.  39 year-old Travis “Bowie” Andrepont of DeQuicy, LA,  had reportedly jumped from one cut of cars to prevent a tank car from rolling into the cars he was riding.  He had worked for the UPRR for 16 years. He was survived by his wife and three children.

    August 15, 2019 – Vaughn Ontario – A 27 year-old employee of the Canadian National Railroad was killed in a yard switching accident at the CN MacMillan Yard. Imraan Qamar died when a car derailed and overturned and trapped him underneath.

    May 17, 2019 – Pueblo CO – A 27-year-old, employee of Rocla Concrete, Joel Montoya, died when he was trapped between two rail cars while yard workers were reportedly moving train cars. Rocla is a supplier of pre-stressed concrete crossties and switch ties for the railroad industry. Montoya was married and the father of two. The unfortunate fatality is being investigated but is considered to be an accident.

    May 10, 2019 – Elmendorf TX – A CRU Rail Services employee was killed, and four others suffered thermal injures in the explosion of an oil tank car and the resulting flash fire.  Gary Garza was trapped inside and killed while in the process of cleaning residue inside the oil tanker. On May 13, Roger Noriega, 42, died at Brooke Army Medical Center from severe burns and a cable that had been impaled in his side as a result of the explosion.

    April 18, 2019 – Romulus NY – An employee of Andersons Rail Group was killed after being struck by a train.  Thomas J. Horn, 46 of Romulus, and another employee were moving rail cars at the former Seneca Army Depot when possibly fell and was struck.  The FRA and NTSB are investigating.

    April 12, 2019 – Wauhatchie TN – A 24 year, mechanical department, CSX employee was killed in a train accident in Chattanooga.  Allen Lowe, of Erwin TN, was struck and killed while working in the rail yard.  Lowe was a father of two, one of which is a son who will graduate from high school this year. The NTSB and FRA are investigating.

    April 2, 2019 – East Chicago IL – A seventeen-year employee of ArcelorMittal was killed at the Indiana Harbor steel mill when the locomotive he was operating struck a railcar on an adjacent track.  Edwin L. Fleming, 49 from Schererville IN, died at the scene.  Brother Fleming was a member of the United Steel Workers.

    February 7, 2019 – Baltimore MD – A Norfolk Southern (NS) conductor was killed while switching cars at the Bayview rail yard. Brother Keith Leon Gilmore was riding the rear of a cut of cars on a shove move when he was caught between the car and standing equipment on an adjacent track. The NTSB is investigating and issued a preliminary report.

    February 4, 2019 – Field BC, Canada – Three Canadian Pacific (CP) employees were killed when their train derailed and plunged off a bridge into icy water. Their 112 car grain train was parked on a steep downgrade with the air brakes applied when it began moving on its own.  The victims were 26-year-old trainee, Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer from Grand Prairie, Conductor Dylan Paradis and Locomotive Engineer Andrew Dockrell. All three brothers were remembered as by-the-book family men.

    …….

  2. Railroad Workers United

    RWU Campaigns

    Stop Crew Fatigue

    One of the most – if not the most – pressing safety concerns of train and engine crews in North America is the whole question of chronic train crew fatigue. It has been an issue for decades. It has been scientifically shown that being subject to fatigue is very similar upon the brain and body as being under the influence of alcohol. And while the rail carriers have zero tolerance for the latter, when it comes to the former, they are mute on the subject. In fact, they do not even acknowledge the existence of fatigue at all!

    Those of us in the T&E craft – especially those on road freight pools and extra boards – know and understand the harsh reality – and the dangers – of chronic crew fatigue. It is unconscionable that the rail carriers sit idly by and do nothing to mitigate against fatigue. The unions are all too often complicit in this silence. It is high time we mount an all-out campaign to blow the whistle on fatigue. If the general population was aware of what we go through, the dangers that we present to ourselves and the communities we travel through, something would be done to put a stop to this insanity.”

    End quote .

    Truck drivers can certainly relate to the Railworker’s chronic fatigue issue among many others .

    In my humble opinion ……………………

    1. Carriers also want one man crews. So tired and going to one person on board. Makes sense to me.

  3. CN Rail dips as workers’ strike enters second day, slows factory output

    Quote:
    “(Reuters) – Shares of Canadian National Railway Co fell as much as 2.2% on Wednesday, as a strike by about 3,000 unionized workers, including conductors and yardmen, at the country’s biggest railroad entered the second day. ”

    YEAH ! CN Rail (CNI) is DOWN 3.36% so far this week ! It’s certainly getting “shareholders” attention . However, “analysts” are down playing it with statements such as : ” Rail strikes are normally short lived” .

    Yeah don’t worry about losing wealth in Rail while Rail is taking correcting in value due to freight demand declining and being overpriced in a contracting economy , rail strikes are normally short lived LOL !

    -CP Rail is down 2.17% so far this week and there’s no labour strike there !
    -Union Pacific down 1.74% today , no labour strike there !
    -CSX down 2.86% so far this week , no labour strike there !
    -Norfolk Southern down 1.41% today , no labour strike there !
    -Kansas City Southern down 1.4% today , no labour strike there either !

    In my humble opinion ……………

  4. Speaking of Transport , the DOW transport average index hasn’t confirmed the DOW industrial average index in printing new highs .

    This is the second day the Dow Industrial index retraced below the rising wedge pattern ( after it broke out from a running triangle formed between April & October ) trend-line since the daily gap down after forming a bearish engulfing pattern on the daily chart .

    BE VIGILANT !

    In my humble opinion …………….

  5. UPDATE Friday, November 22, 2019 4:25PM EST

    Quote in parts:

    “Despite CN Rail strike, Parliament won’t be recalled before Dec. 5: House leader

    OTTAWA – Despite calls from federal and provincial leaders to recall Parliament early in light of the CN Rail strike, Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez says the first day of the new Parliament will remain Dec. 5.
    “The date set is Dec. 5 and that’s what’s going to happen,” Rodriguez said in an interview with CTV’s Question Period host Evan Solomon.  ”

    Now “that’s” CLEAR !

    Quote :

    “We believe that mediation, collective bargaining, is the right way to do this, we’ve looked at the situation and we feel that the two sides need to be talking to each other,” Garneau said.

    Should the strike still be happening by then it’s likely the Liberals would have the support of the Conservatives to pass a bill forcing the striking CN Rail workers back on the job.

    Generally speaking, Rodriguez said that the Liberal approach to finding support to advance its agenda in the new Parliament will be done “issue by issue.”

    “Fighting climate change is very important for us, so we of course will be discussing that with the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois. On the other hand we also want to reduce taxes for the middle class, so we can discuss that with the Conservatives, so piece by piece,” Rodriguez said.

    “We have to find people, dancing partners that will move forward with us on those priorities. If there’s tweaking to do here and there, it could be possible, it depends. We’re working on the throne speech, let’s see what it is.”
    End quote

    Re-quote:
    “We have to find people, dancing partners ”

    IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO ! LOL (wink)

    And as Shania Twain so eloquently put it :

    “Noah knew what he had to do
    Ooh, oh, yeah
    He sent us out in the world walkin’ two by two

    Quote:
    “The tango is a dance which requires two partners moving in relation to each other, sometimes in tandem, sometimes in opposition. The meaning of this expression has been extended to include any situation in which the two partners are by definition understood to be essential—as in, a marriage with only one partner ceases to be a marriage. ”

    End quote .

    Shareholders should vote for a change in management . The current CEO has proven that he can’t resolve the situation , and due to such demands a binding arbitration .

    Secondly , due to not resolving the current labour issue favorably and rapidly with shareholder primacy in mind , management caused a work stoppage due to poor decisions in the matter which lead to a reduction in current CN Rail Freight Shipments , negatively affecting CN’s earnings in the process during a contracting economic environment . Furthermore , current poor management in the matter is causing client uproar due to unsatisfactory services which is tarnishing CN’s reputation in regards to reliability .

    I strongly recommend a shareholder vote for a change in management .

    In my humble opinion ………

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