Watch Now

Union members at Canadian Pacific could go on strike March 16

Further negotiations between Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and railway set for next week

A Canadian Pacific train. (Photo: Canadian Pacific)

Members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) voted 96.7% to go on strike as soon as midnight EST on March 16 should talks fail between both parties, according to a release. The potential strike would affect more than 3,000 locomotive engineers, conductors, trainpersons and yardpersons working at CP (NYSE: CP).

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service will hold mediation meetings with the union and CP between March 11 and 16.

The union says the main issues include wages, benefits and pensions. 

In response to Friday’s announcement from the unions, CP said, “CP has an excellent track record of successful collective bargaining with our unions; unfortunately, the TCRC has relied on federal conciliation in eight of the nine collective bargaining negotiations since 1993. We have offered a fair and balanced agreement, including wage increases, for a two-year collective agreement, and have agreed to 20 union demands on benefits and work rules in order to achieve labour certainty and stability for the next two years.

 “Now, once again, CP is focused on arriving at a negotiated outcome that is in the best interests of all our employees and their families, our customers, our shareholders and the overall Canadian economy. The TCRC leadership, however, appears poised to force a shutdown of the essential rail supply chain, jeopardizing Canada’s national economy, by making unreasonable demands. As a result, a work stoppage at CP could occur in March.

 “A work stoppage of any duration at CP will impact virtually all commodities within the Canadian supply chain, thereby crippling the performance of Canada’s trade-dependent economy. The consequences of a work stoppage will be felt long after workers return to work and service resumes. This is an issue of doing what is best for Canada’s economy,” CP continued.

The last time union members went on strike at CP was May 2018, although it ended within days. At that time, the train and engine members of the TCRC and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers signed a four-year agreement with CP. That collective agreement expired on Dec. 31, 2021.

TCRC is affiliated with the Teamsters. In November 2019, TCRC members went on strike at CP rival CN (NYSE: CNI). That strike lasted for eight days.

Last year, CP and Teamsters Rail Conference Rail Canada Traffic Controllers reached a three-year agreement.

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.