UPDATE: The parties reached an agreement on May 30. For the full story, click here.
- More than 3,000 Canadian Pacific (CP) train conductors and engineers went on strike Tuesday night, according to multiple news reports, putting shipments of commodities at a standstill.
- Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) said its members voted 98.1% to reject CP's offer last Friday and delivered a strike notice to the railway the following day.
- While negotiations between CP and TCRC are ongoing, CP did reach a tentative three-year agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Interruptions on a Class I railroad will affect shipments and supply chains both upstream and downstream.
For shippers of commodities like coal, grain or ethanol, their shipments are at a standstill as freight trains sit idly in rail yards.
Even for shippers who don't use rail directly, many use intermodal services. If the strike continues, stalled rail cars could in turn create delays for ships and trucks waiting at ports to transfer goods from one freight mode to another.
TCRC and CP have had a tense relationship over the last few years. "CP’s actions have forced us to vote for strike action three times in the past six years," Doug Finnson, TCRC president, said in a statement.
Over 3000 workers at CP went on strike at 2200 ET. We are taking a stand against an abusive employer & a culture of fear. #canlab // Plus de 3000 travailleurs du CP sont en grève depuis 22h HE. On lute contre un employeur abusif & un climat de terreur. #syndQc pic.twitter.com/WMu58fS4Q0— Teamsters Canada (@TeamstersCanada) May 30, 2018
In a tweet, the labor union called CP "an abusive employer."
CP, meanwhile, said it was "disappointed with the outcome of the vote" to reject the offer Friday, which the rail line said provided "significant improvements to wages, benefits and working conditions."