|CAW Members legal rights and responsibilities:
CAW members at CN are legally required to work during the UTU strike. You cannot refuse to report for work simply because a
picket line may be set up. There are circumstances where the employer cannot force you to cross a picket line, which is
addressed further below. In all cases, it is CN’s obligation to ensure safe entry of CAW members into the workplace, as well as
other workers from other Unions.
CN has proposed in various locations transporting non-striking employees (CAW members) through picket lines by bus or van.
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 Union recommends that our membership enter their workplace as normal. If a UTU picket line is set up, say hello to the
striking brothers and/or sisters and tell them that you support their efforts in attaining a fair and satisfactory contract with
CN. Remind them that we, as CAW members, were in the same predicament a short three years ago in 2004 and when the
UTU membership also had a legal obligation to report for work. Take a moment to talk with them and show them yours and our
Union's Solidarity. In understanding your obligations and recognizing that the scenario was reversed three years ago, we do
not assume that UTU brothers and sisters will show hostility toward our CAW members. They would probably appreciate this
show of solidarity more than just crossing their picket line in a bus or van, of which in the end, may create a more hostile and
dangerous environment compared to coming into work our regular way. They may be of the impression that buses or vans are
carrying replacement workers (scabs), thus more hostility could be shown.
Moreover, please RESPECT any injunctions that may become invoked by the courts. If the UTU is allowed one minute, five
minutes, 20 minutes, whatever, respect it. That's what we wanted when we were on the picket line in 2004 - respect. If
there is an injunction that cites no picketing is allowed at all, please pay respect to our striking sisters and brothers from the
UTU and wait for a couple of minutes before crossing. Simple respect will alleviate picket line hostilities.
CAW members are not forced to cross a picket line if there is an "imminent threat of danger" to employees who are legally
obligated to report for work. The Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) has determined that an "imminent threat of
danger" exists only 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 CN who is to arrange for safe passage through the picket line. This
may be where buses and vans come into play. It would be advisable to first contact a full-time union representative in the
event you encounter any problems. Failing the immediate availability of a full-time Union Officer, then contact your Local
Chairperson or Shop Steward. In these circumstances, let us deal with management on your behalf. Assistance of the Board's
Safety Officer pursuant Part II of the Canada Labour Code may also be necessary.
The Company cannot force you to utilize a bus or van for access to work. However, some may feel safer using this method.
Notwithstanding, please keep in mind item 2 above. Whatever method you choose, ensure you allow sufficient time to report
for work on time, based on potential slow downs at picket lines.
The CAW also strongly 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. Again, contact a CAW
Union Representative in the event you encounter problems.
Updates on the UTU/CN strike will be posted on http://cawcouncil4000.com as information becomes available.