Both companies have started the legal process towards a work stoppage. The earliest a strike or lockout can legally occur is now May.

Montreal, February 19, 2024 – Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) are not serious about negotiating and avoiding a work stoppage, says the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), the union representing workers at both companies.

CN and CPKC are currently in negotiations with the Teamsters to renew three collective agreements affecting approximately 9300 workers at both companies.

“CN and CPKC aim to eliminate all safety-critical rest provisions from our collective agreements. These provisions are necessary to combat crew fatigue and ensure public safety. We want to reach a negotiated settlement, but their demands are non-starters for the Teamsters. Safety is non-negotiable,” said the national president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte. 

“Canadian railroads don’t care about supply chains, farmers, or small businesses. They care about their bottom line, and squeezing everything they can out of their employees. If they need to manufacture a work stoppage to get there, they won’t think twice,” added the president of the TCRC, Paul Boucher. 

Railroaders are on-call workers with highly irregular schedules, making it difficult to rest appropriately between shifts. The current collective agreements provide rest provisions that work in conjunction with the existing regulatory framework, allowing workers to better manage their fatigue.

Negotiations on hold as work stoppage looms

On Friday, both CN and CPKC filed a notice of dispute with the Government of Canada, effectively putting negotiations on hold until government mediators can be appointed.

The notice of dispute also starts the legal process towards a possible strike or lockout. Under the Canada Labour Code, a work stoppage could occur as soon as 81 days after government mediators are appointed, potentially leading to a dispute as early as May.

At CN, the Teamsters represent close to 6000 conductors, locomotive engineers, and yard workers under a single contract. A strike previously occurred in 2019 over the issue of fatigue and rail safety.

At CPKC, the Teamsters represent close to 3200 conductors, locomotive engineers, and yard workers under a single contract. The union also represents approximately 90 rail traffic controllers, under a separate contract also being renewed. A work stoppage in 2022 triggered wide-ranging and severe supply chain issues. In 2023, CPKC was found in contempt of court after repeatedly violating the collective agreement’s rest provisions.

At over 135,000 members, Teamsters Canada is the country’s largest transportation and supply chain union. It’s also the largest union in the federally regulated private sector. The organization represents workers at CP, CN, UPS, Purolator, countless trucking companies, and more. They are affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents over 1.2 million workers in North America.


Media requests:
Christopher Monette
Director of Public Affairs
Teamsters Canada
Cell. : 514-226-6002 
[email protected]