|UTU members rally in Vancouver to fight CN safety concessions
|Striking union members employed by CN say their lack of safety is the reason they’ve been off the job since February 9, 2007.
Members of the United Transportation Union (UTU) were joined today by members of other unions at a noon hour rally at
Waterfront Park in North Vancouver to show support for striking CN railway conductors.
B.C. Federation of Labour President, Jim Sinclair addressed the crowd noting that despite CN Rail’s profit of $2.1 billion last
year, the company is now demanding concessions from workers including longer hours of work and reduced rest time
between shifts that union members say will compromise safety. He says CN's demands are all part of the company's shoddy
UTU member Bob McDiarmid spoke passionately about the impact of his job not only on his safety, but on his family. "[CN
management] want to eliminate the maximum monthly service cap currently in place to prevent a railroader from working
beyond a maximum number of trips each month," McDiarmid said.
“Mr. Harrison has gone on record telling the Board of Directors that he will be able to get at least forty percent more work out of
each and every one of us. What would we get out of this? More money and less personal time with our families, and greater
fatigue of railroaders," said McDiarmid.
Sinclair also questioned whose side the federal government was on in this dispute. "Stephen Harper and the Conservatives
have been quick to talk about back-to-work legislation. Yet where have they been when it comes to protecting worker safety?"
"First, CN Rail gets a huge gift from the BC government in the sell-off of BC Rail," Sinclair stated, "then, we see the company’s
disregard for safety, our environment and for communities along the railway."
CN rail accidents in the last several years have killed a number of workers, including an accident last year near Lillooet that
saw two former BC Rail workers killed. CN Rail’s spotty maintenance record and failure to ensure dynamic brakes that were
used on steep terrains have been cited as the primary cause.
CAW continues their support of the striking UTU across Canada