|UTU walks off the job at CN effective 00:01 EST February 10
|The United Transportation Union (UTU), representing 2,800 conductors and yard-service employees at CN, walked off the job at 00:01 Saturday, February 10 in
legal strike action. However, in a news release posted on CN's website, the Company says "the UTU strike is illegal." CN is seeking to have the UTU strike
declared illegal on the basis that the "certified bargaining agent of the UTU members employed at CN had not authorized the issuance of the (strike) notice."
CN spokesperson Mark Hallman told the Canadian Press at the start of the UTU strike that the Company will be applying to the Canada Industrial Relations
Board (CIRB) on Saturday morning (Feb.10) for a declaration that the strike is illegal.
On February 7th, Frank Wilner, spokesperson for the UTU International Union based in Cleveland in the United States, which represents about 125,000 active
and retired railroad, bus and mass transit workers in the United States and Canada, told the Toronto Star that "the International Union has not sanctioned a
strike. Under the union constitution, they (the Canadian union) have to apply for and receive authorization. They have to have that authority to take that action,
and so far they haven't done so." The Union's Canadian conductors and yard-service membership voted over 96 per cent in favour of strike action last week,
which gave the Canadian-based bargaining committee a powerful strike mandate.
In a statement posted on the UTU negotiations website at 22:05 EST February 9th, the Union said in part:
"Regrettably, the Company has not responded to our final offer, which expired at 22:00 EST. At this point, we are left with no choice but to initiate strike action
on CN's Canadian rail lines effective 00:01 February 10, 2007." We advise you that, while we are in a legal strike position under Canadian law, the International
President has not provided authorization under Article 92 of the UTU Constitution. This fact does not effect the legality of the strike."
Excluded from strike action are UTU members employed on CN’s Northern Quebec Internal Short Line, Algoma Central Railway in Ontario and the MacKenzie
Northern Railway in Alberta.
CN and the UTU have agreed that normal commuter rail operations on CN rail lines in Toronto and Montreal will be maintained during the strike.
On Wednesday (Feb.7), the Canadian Auto Workers Union issued a public statement expressing its full support for the UTU and its Canadian membership in
their struggle to achieve a satisfactory collective agreement with CN.
CAW members at CN are legally required to work during the UTU strike, however, it is CN’s obligation to ensure safe entry of CAW members into the
workplace, as well as other workers. CN has proposed in various locations transporting non-striking employees through picket lines by bus. The CAW issued
a subsequent notice to its membership that this proposition is "unacceptable to the CAW and could very well inflame the situation during a dispute."
The CAW reminds its membership that employees are not forced to cross a picket line if there is an "imminent threat of danger," which exists in situations
where there is a high probability of harm or injury to the individual when crossing a picket line. In such cases, members MUST first notify their employer who is
then to arrange for safe passage through the picket line. It would be better to immediately contact a full-time union representative for assistance. Failing
availability of a full-time Union Officer, then contact your Local Chairperson or Shop Steward. Let us deal with management on your behalf.
The CAW also recommends that CAW members exercise their legal right as in accordance Section 94(3)(c) of the Canada Labour Code and refuse to perform
any work normally done by UTU members who are on strike.
Updates on the UTU/CN strike will be posted on cawcouncil4000.com as information becomes available.
Important information to CAW CN members concerning the UTU/CN strike
February 7, 2007: UTU issues CN strike notice - CAW expresses its full support to UTU