Canadian government says it is monitoring the CN Rail strike closely

Daniel Fowler
November 20, 2019

About 3,200 conductors, trainspersons and yard workers voted to strike after the company and union were unable to reach a deal. "The shipment of fuel and other supplies to mine sites will be compromised as will the transport of mineral products".

Passenger rail services in the country's three biggest cities would not be affected, the union said. The majority of this production volume is shipped to worldwide customers, together accounting for 20% (or more than $105 billion) of the total value of Canada's exports in 2018, and consistently contributes positively to Canada's balance of trade. "As a result, members at CN will be on strike... at 00:01 Eastern Time".

"We recommend that the government impose binding arbitration to address this dispute - and to also consider such arbitration as a required step in future labour disputes involving the Class 1 railroads, given the frequency and adverse impact of such disputes", concluded Gratton.

"We are monitoring the situation closely", she said on Saturday after the Teamsters gave a 72-hour strike notice.

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"The number one priority for the new federal cabinet is to find a quick resolution to this strike".

A CN Rail strike is making an already hard year for British Columbia wheat and canola farmers even harder. Companies in the Peace River region of northern Alberta and British Columbia, for instance, rely on CN to ship farm and forestry products, said Ward Toma, general manager of Alberta Canola. "Everything we grow ultimately gets moved by rail".

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference announced the strike Monday night after the two parties failed to reach a deal by the midnight deadline.

Analysts don't expect the strike to last long, as the government is likely to intervene because of the potential significant impact on economy in case of a prolonged labor action, Credit Suisse's analyst Allison Landry said in a note, as carried by Bloomberg.

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