Canadian Pacific, rail workers hold off strike

  • Market: Agriculture, Biofuels, Chemicals, Coal, Coking coal, Crude oil, Fertilizers, LPG, Metals, Oil products, Petrochemicals, Petroleum coke
  • 03/16/22

Canadian Pacific (CP) and rail workers are still negotiating over a new labor contract, averting a strike for now. A strike could not come for at least three days.

Negotiations continue today without a work stoppage, CP and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) confirmed to Argus this morning. Talks with federal mediators continued over the weekend in regard to work rules, wages, benefits and pensions. About 3,000 of the 3,062 locomotive engineers, train conductors and yard workers working at CP earlier this month authorized the union to initiate a strike starting as early as 12:01am ET on 16 March.

TCRC confirmed it has not filed notice of a possible strike with labor minister Seamus O'Regan. Canadian law requires 72 hours' notice from labor organizations ahead of strikes.

The railroad and shippers had feared TCRC members would go on strike today, disrupting rail operations in Canada and eventually the US. CP and the Teamsters have been negotiating a new contract for locomotive engineers, train conductors and yard workers.

Disruptions to freight operations have likely begun. The railroad and shippers have taken steps to reduce potential service interruptions, including shipping products early, stockpiling commodities or postponing contracts.

Should a strike occur, it will likely take days or weeks to restore the system after it ends as the railroad will need to catch up on any backlogs that develop.

Shippers worry because rail service this year has already been affected by supply chain problems, labor shortages and delays.

If there is "any further disruption to the rail service in any part of the country, for any period of time, the challenges we currently face will be exacerbated and we will see immediate consequences," Canadian Propane Association interim chief executive Allan Murphy said. Disruptions will occur "not only for propane companies but for consumers who rely on propane to heat their homes, farms, businesses and institutions such as schools, senior residences and hospitals."


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