|Teamsters win CIRB representation vote - marks the end of the UTU at CN
More than 2,000 CN conductors, assistant conductors, yard employees and
yardmasters, represented by the United Transportation Union (UTU), have voted
to affiliate with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), by way of a
Certification vote ordered by the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB). The
results were announced by the CIRB on August 29, 2008.
More than 95 % of the UTU members at CN voted in favour of joining the TCRC. TCRC President Dan Shewchuk said he was
"extremely happy" with the outcome of the voting process.
"The situation previously being experience has favoured the employer, to the detriment of the workers but that is now changing,"
said Shewchuk. "With this most welcome addition, the Teamsters Union will represent over 12,000 workers in the rail industry and
we are an unavoidable collective bargaining partner for the two major rail carriers in Canada, Canadian National and Canadian
Pacific as well as the majority of the short lines in Canada."
With the addition of the former UTU members at CN, Teamsters Canada’s membership has increased to 125,000 members.
On the UTU International’s website, the UTU, in announcing the outcome of the vote, said that the departure of their Canadian
members from CN will, in a practical sense, “save the UTU International more than $100,000 per month, or more than $1.2 million
annually,” which is the difference between the amount of dues collected from the CN-employed members in Canada and the cost to
the UTU International in representing them.
The UTU reported that "the vote was expected after it was revealed last year that UTU leaders in Canada had been plotting with
There has always been a bit of competition and politics between the two running trade unions at CN - the UTU and Brotherhood of
Locomotive Engineers (BLE), now the TCRC – notwithstanding the fact that for more than the past three decades, since the
inception of Engine Service Brakemen (ESBs), all BLE/TCRC members were first UTU members, becoming members of the BLE/TCRC
at such time they qualified in engine service and could hold work as a locomotive engineer.
Problems began to escalate in February 2007, when the UTU membership at CN voted to take strike action against Canada’s largest
railway. The UTU International leadership expressed to their Canadian membership at CN that they were in violation of the UTU
constitution by taking strike action without the required consent from the UTU International. The UTU General Chairpersons found
to have conspired with the TCRC were removed from office. The UTU accused their Canadian officers of conspiring with the TCRC.
Last year, in a similar situation, the TCRC took over representation of the former UTU-represented employees at Ontario Northland.
However, a short time after joining the TCRC, these same workers voted to decertify from the TCRC and, in a new representation
vote, chose to affiliate with the United Steelworkers Union.
Despite the fact that these union members have spoke loud and clear by their strong vote, and that one union for running trade
employees at CN will most certainly make them stronger, there is nonetheless a sense of sadness seeing the demise of the UTU, a
once proud and strong union that represented the majority of running trades on both CN and CP. We wish these new TCRC
members future success with their affiliation with the Teamsters!
The CAW represents approximately 5000 workers at CN, ranging from clerical workers, Intermodal workers, shopcrafts, vehicle and
heavy duty mechanics and carmen. The CAW also represents running trade employees in Alberta at Savage Alberta Railway, which
is now owned and operated by CN.