Deadline set for union vote on CP Rail offers

Unions urging members to reject ratification vote.

Unions with members employed by CP Rail will close a ratification vote on new collective bargaining agreements offered by the company on May 23.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers had both voted for strike action that was set to take place on April 21, however, CP Rail appealed to a federal government regulatory board to force a vote on new contract offers that are currently on the table.

Related: Unions, CP Rail come to agreement, avoiding work stoppage

The ratification vote will open on May 14, but both unions are urging their members to reject the offers.

If the ratification votes are rejected, then a minimum of 72 hours notice will be required from the unions before any work stoppage occurs, either by potential strike action or company lockout.

“May 23 is judgment day at Canadian Pacific,” said Doug Finnson, the TCRC president, in a press release. “CP has done everything it can to make a strike inevitable, but they can still avoid a work stoppage by bargaining in good faith.

“Teamsters are ready negotiate with CP but we cannot bargain alone,” he added. “CP has to be ready to settle outstanding issues and to provide workers with a good and fair collective agreement.”

The TCRC says the company offer doesn’t address concerns regarding fatigue and labour policy relations and management practices. The union charges that there are 8,000 grievances against the company and cases of dismissed workers rose by 500 per cent since CP Rail adopted a discipline-based labour relations strategy.

Related: B.C. conductors, engineers with CP Rail authorize strike action

“CP designed their final offer to entice workers to abandon their grievances, some of which are valued in the tens of thousands of dollars,” said Finnson. “CP is offering a fraction of what we think the company owes, and our members see through that nonsense.”

The IBEW is equally opposed to CP Rail’s contract offer and is urging their members to reject the ratification vote.

“Your Negotiations Committee does not approve of this offer and it falls far short of anything remotely close to a deal that we would be willing to present to all of you to vote on,” reads a IBEW union bulletin.

Voting on the collective agreements offered by the company open on May 14.

The TCRC has roughly 3,000 members employed by CP Rail across Canada, while the IBEW has approximately 360.

Related: Unions threatening strike action against CP Rail

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