Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive engineers and conductors Go On Strike!
The Unifor agreement was reached in Montreal minutes before the midnight deadline. "This was a very difficult set of negotiations, but I'm pleased that we were able to break new ground in several different areas," Unifor national president Jerry Dias said in statement.
Details of the tentative agreement are being withheld pending ratification by the Unifor membership.
"After months of negotiating, we have agreed on a deal that is fair to all stakeholders," E. Hunter Harrison, CP's chief executive officer said in a statement. "We look forward to a successful ratification vote and to working together with our Unifor colleagues in driving CP forward."
CP’s talks with the Teamsters broke down over working conditions, namely CP’s refusal to honor collective agreements requiring train crews to rest after 10 straight hours of work, union president Doug Finnson said in a statement issued before the strike. He also accused the railroad of not giving the majority of union members “accurate information on when they are required to work.”
CP said would implement an “extensive contingency plan” by deploying qualified management employees to maintain a reduced freight service on its Canadian network. The railroad pledged to work with its customers to advise on how the work stoppage will affect them.
As the likelihood of a Teamsters’ strike mounted in the run up to the Feb. 14 midnight deadline, the Canadian government said it would do whatever it could to prevent the economy being damaged by a work stoppage. The government is expected to introduce back-to-work legislation as soon as Monday.
During the 2012 labor unrest, legislation was passed by Ottawa forcing an end to a nine-day strike by 4,800 striking union members and CP employees. Back then it was estimated that a strike would cost the Canadian economy $540 million a week.
Meanwhile, the largest railroad in the country, Canadian National Railway, has reached a tentative labor agreement with the TCRC that represents 1,800 of the company's locomotive engineers in Canada.
The deal will be put to a ratification vote by mid-April, when results will be made public, CN said in a statement.