Voting scheduled for CP employees on verge of strike

Engineers, conductors and signal maintainers who’d been poised to walk off the job at Canadian Pacific Railway almost two weeks ago will instead continue business as usual until at least May 26.

The Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) this week informed CP and two of its employees’ unions — the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and System Council No. 11 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) — that the employees will vote between May 14 and 23 on what CP describes as its “final” proposals.

If the affected employees vote to reject the offer, at least 72 hours’ notice would need to be provided ahead of either a strike or a lockout, CP said in a release Tuesday.

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“In the event that final offers are accepted, the potential for a work stoppage will have been averted,” CP said.

The TCRC, which represents about 3,000 CP conductors and engineers, on Tuesday again recommended its members vote to reject the company’s proposal.

“Out of good faith, the union will attempt to resume negotiations after CP’s final offer is rejected and before any possible strike action,” the union said in a separate statement.

Calgary-based CP’s final offer “does not address workers’ issues and concerns,” the Teamsters said Tuesday, adding the proposal “also underestimates workers’ anger with the company’s abusive labour relations policy and management practices.”

IBEW didn’t release a statement Tuesday but informed its 360 CP employee members of the vote, in which they can take part via phone or internet.

“The fact that CP thinks their offer has a chance in hell of being ratified shows how out of touch they are with their employees,” Steve Martin, senior general chairman for IBEW System Council No. 11, said April 20.

Federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu at that time had asked the CIRB to conduct a ratification vote on CP’s offers to the Teamsters and IBEW, as per a request from CP. Federal mediators have been involved in the talks between the company and unions since late January. –– AGCanada.com Network

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