Friday, June 1, 2012
CP freight trains rolling again
A nine-day strike by over 4,800 locomotive engineers, conductors and traffic controllers reportedly came to an end today at 7AM EST after a federally-mandated back-to-work bill was passed Canada's Senate that clears the way for the government to appoint an arbitrator and a 90-day period to finalize a new labor contract for that country's second-largest railroad.
Canadian Pacific management and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference failed to resolve a contract dispute over pensions and non-union hires last week.
The most recent five-year collective agreement between the CP and its labor force expired Dec. 31, 2011.
Labor Minister Lisa Raitt had previously said at a news conference after the rail strike was announced that the estimated impact to Canada's economy was approximately $540 million per week.
"The government is concerned about the national economic significance this will have and we are prepared to act in the interest of the national economy," she said.
The CP employee strike came on the heels of a prolonged proxy battle involving activist investor Bill Ackman over the leadership direction of Canada's second largest railway that resulted in chief executive Fred Green's recent resignation.
The major reported points of contention during management-labor negotiations have revolved around benefit pensions and lower cost contribution plans for non-union employees hired after July 1, 2010.
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