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Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Mike Franczak continued, “We are willing to enter into binding arbitration or negotiation period extensions should an agreement not be reached at this stage. This would ensure the continued operations of freight and commuter trains on CP’s Canadian Network for the benefit of our customers, communities we serve and the economy at large.”
Franczak acknowledged any extension to the bargaining process requires consent of the union or action of the federal government.
The TCRC represents 4,800 engineers, conductors and rail traffic controllers in Canada. It issued the 72-hour strike notice May 19th meaning a work stoppage could occur at one minute past midnight on May 23rd.
Canadian Labor Minister Lisa Raitt urged binding arbitration over a work stoppage.
The railroad and union have been negotiating since October 2011. Its contract expired in January 2012.
Issues center on pensions and work rules. The railroad said it had made solvency deficit contributions of $1.9 billion (US $1.86 billion) to its pension plan in the last three years. It also said some of the options provide guaranteed pension payment that is a multiple of average Canadian industrial pension payment and exceeds what this union has already agreed to for the majority of its members at another major Canadian railway.
“The offer on pension aligns with the industry and allows the railway to remain competitive as we invest in strategic infrastructure upgrades along our network,” said Franczak.
In the event there is a work stoppage, CP will proceed with a safe and structured shut down of its train operations in Canada.