Update: Strike Ends - Canadian Pacific Railway Workers Go on Strike
Updated 5/30 2pm PDT - Full operations are expected to resume Thursday at 0600 local time across Canada after conductors and locomotive engineers went on strike Tuesday night. Canadian Pacific said it reached a tentative four-year agreement with CP conductors and locomotive engineers and a five-year agreement with its Kootenay Valley Railway (KVR) conductors and locomotive engineers on Wednesday.
Canadian Pacific Rail's more than 3,000 train operators walked off the job late Tuesday night while a second group of workers reached a tentative contract settlement with the rail company.
The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference said its workers walked out at 10 p.m. EDT as negotiations continued with the company with the assistance of federal mediators.
That announcement came just minutes after CP Rail announced a tentative deal had been reached with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for 360 signalling workers who were also poised to walk off the job at 10 p.m..
The Teamsters said the strike by its members began despite "best efforts to reach a negotiated settlement," adding it is "willing to remain at the bargaining table during the strike."
CP Rail has said it will use qualified management staff to handle signalling and switching tasks so trains can continue to operate.
However, the strike could force the railroad to shut down its freight service at a particularly bad time for grain farmers. Shippers had said they expected talks would fail, resulting in the third CP Rail strike since 2012.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier in the day that the federal government would not be rushed into introducing back-to-work legislation, preferring instead to employ various levers to motivate both sides to reach a settlement.
Even before the strike began, the livelihoods of Canadian grain farmers were already threatened because shipping was severely disrupted over the past winter due to extreme cold.
"You always hope for a miracle but we're pretty sure there's going to be a stoppage," said Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association, which represents the country's largest exporters.
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