CN cancels Health and Safety Plan
November 12, 2005
In an unprecedented move, CN has unilaterally cancelled the entire negotiated Health and Safety Plan governing its 5,000 CAW
represented employees.

The Plan, which covered both Local 100 and Council 4000, first came into effect in 2000 following lengthy negotiations and a mediation-
arbitration process.  But unlike the other national railways (CPR and VIA), CN never allowed the Plan to be part of the collective
agreement.

Recent years have seen CN having trouble living up to the high standards set by the Plan.  Discipline and the threat of discipline have too
frequently replaced joint investigation and genuine remedial action.

Last year, the CAW was forced to arbitration twice in connection with the Plan – once to stop CN from reducing health and safety
committee meetings from 12 times a year to 4, and once to stop CN from “investigating” accidents behind the back of the health and
safety committee.  We won both times.  CN obviously decided it could no longer live with the rules – so it cancelled them.

Local 100 President Bryon De Baets and Council 4000 President Bob Fitzgerald challenged CN’s move.  “Tearing up the Plan shows
disregard for our members and our Union,” they said.  “This raises the question of CN’s commitment to health and safety.”

Fitzgerald and De Baets pledged that reinstatement of the Plan will be a priority.  Meanwhile, they called on workers, union
representatives, and government regulatory authorities to ensure that no accident, near miss, or hazardous situation goes unreported
and unresolved.

There can be no debate that we have attempted to work with CN at every level in health and safety.

In August, the CAW asked Transport Minister Jean Lapierre to review CN’s safety practices in light of the increase in derailments.  Last
week, the Minister released to CN the preliminary results of a federal audit which found that safety practices at CN contained “all kinds of
problems”.  He went on to say that Ottawa could call a public inquiry into the company’s operations if the problems are not corrected
quickly.

In the interest of our members and safety, we will continue to work with CN and Transport Canada -- but one important ingredient must
be the reinstatement of the Health and Safety Plan that was developed jointly by the parties.  To do otherwise is clearly an injustice and
further inflames our leadership and members.

Source:  CAW Railfax
 
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