|Bill to end strike won't end strife: UTU vows to continue fight
|United Transportation Union leaders reacted swiftly and vehemently to the passage of back-to-work legislation yesterday (April 18), vowing to continue the fight
over worker dissatisfaction with work rules and conditions at CN, dissatisfaction the UTU says gave rise to their national rail strike and caused a 79% rejection
vote by their 2,800 members against a tentative contract deal on April 10th.
The UTU also warned CN not to attempt to use the legislation and its arbitration provision to pursue a wrong-headed and illegal plan to break up the UTU's
national bargaining unit and replace it with regional bargaining units. CN Rail announced its intention of pushing regionally bargained contracts in an April
16th press release and the UTU has promised to challenge this before the Canada Industrial Relations Board, calling it an unfair labour practice.
"This Bill appears to be intended to pave the way for CN Rail to attack our rights. They want to break up our bargaining unit in order to weaken the workers'
ability to stop management from pushing older workers out of the way and manipulating work rules and schedules at workers' expense," UTU Vice-President
John Armstrong said yesterday (April 18th).
The UTU expressed anger that railworkers are the target, for the first time in more than a decade, of government legislation against a legal strike. Armstrong
challenged the need for the legislation by pointing out that it was CN, not the union, that slowed rail traffic by imposing a lockout and keeping workers home
from multiple worksites, including the CN yard at the port of Vancouver.
The federal Government used closure to force Bill C-46 through Parliament today. Section 7 of the Bill provides for an immediate end to any strike or lockout at
CN Rail. It is expected that the Bill will receive Royal Assent sometime today (April 19).
April 16 - UTU-CN Strike Update
April 11 - UTU membership rejects one year contract offer with CN