Possible job action at CN would impact Prince Rupert’s port operations

Cargo moving through Prince Rupert could grind to a halt later this month as talks between CN Rail and the Teamsters broke down last week.

Cargo moving into or out of the port of Prince Rupert could grind to a halt later this month as talks between CN Rail and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference broke down last week.

A total 3,300 conductors, trainmen, yardmen and traffic coordinators working for CN have been working without a contract since July 22. But when CN management turned down the union’s offer to continue conciliation past Oct. 7, the two sides entered a 21-day cooling-off period that ends on Oct. 28 after which a lockout or strike is a possibility.

The union says CN is asking for concessions which would require people to work longer hours with less rest time between trips, something it says flies in the face of CN’s commitment to safety.

“We’re extremely disappointed by CN’s refusal to extend the mediation period. The railway uses an old tactic: pointing a gun to its workers’ heads to force them to make concessions,” said TCRC spokesperson Roland Hackl, noting wages and the retirement plan are not the central issue for the union.

“CN’s managers have to walk the walk and talk the talk; they have to understand that people are not machines and that you should never place profits before people.”

Talks between the two sides are set to resume on Oct. 21, with the aid of federally appointed mediators. Mark Hallman of CN says the company is optimistic the two sides can reach an agreement, but refutes the union’s claims that anyone is being put at risk.

“As matter of policy, CN does not comment on the substance of on-going labour negotiations. However, CN stresses that none of its bargaining proposals would in any way compromise the health and safety of TCRC-CTY members,” he said.

“Indeed, it is our opinion that CN’s proposals would positively affect the health and safety of our employees.”

Prince Rupert Port Authority manager of corporate communications Michael Gurney said the port is keeping a keen eye on the developments.

“A rail service disruption would obviously have an impact on port operations, so we hope for an expeditious and mutually satisfactory resolution to the negotiations,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Northern Health announced on Dec. 1 holiday changes to the medical travel bus schedule for December and January 2021. (Photo: supplied)
Holiday schedule changes for Northern Health Connections bus

N.H. announces transportation time changes from Prince Rupert to Prince George

A Water Quality Advisory is still in affect on Dec. 1 in Prince Rupert after being in place for a month. (Black Press file photo)
Water Quality Advisory still in place for Prince Rupert

High turbidity is creating risky drinking water in Prince Rupert

Pea sized hail rained from the skies in Prince Rupert on Nov. 30 leaving roads covered in a sheet of ice. (Photo; K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Large hail caused icy conditions in Prince Rupert

High wind warnings in effect for North Coast and Haida Gwaii

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

Most Read