Mar 20, 2022
By Jeremy Logan
The company and the union are pointing fingers of blame at each other for a shutdown of Canadian Pacific Railway operations that began Sunday while the two sides remained at the bargaining table.
The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, which represents some 3,000 engineers, conductors, yard workers, and other train employees, issued a release just before midnight saying a lockout was being initiated by management at the Calgary-based railway.
But hours later the company put out a release stating that while the company was still engaged in contract talks facilitated by federal mediators, the TCRC “withdrew its services and issued a news release misrepresenting the status of the talks.” It added that CP was working with its customers to wind down its operations across Canada.
The union then issued a subsequent release which said that in addition to the lockout, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference members were also on strike at CP throughout the country with picketing underway at various Canadian Pacific locations.
The office of federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan said in a statement that while the work stoppage had begun both parties were still at the bargaining table with mediators and it expected “the parties to keep working until they reach an agreement.” The more than two dozen outstanding issues in the dispute include wages, benefits and pensions.
Last week, about 45 industry groups warned that any disruption of rail service would hinder Canada’s freight capacity and hurt the broader economy as it grapples with inflation, product shortages, rising fuel costs and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.