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June 11, 2024 — CN has been in negotiation with the TCRC since November 2023 to reach an agreement that is good for both parties. Unfortunately, we are no closer to a deal. The uncertainty around the timing of a resolution and the prospect of a labour disruption are hurting CN, our employees, our customers, and the Canadian economy. The Minister of Labour’s request to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) on the issue of essential services is adding to this uncertainty.

The TCRC’s proposal for staggered negotiations is not a way forward. It does not resolve the uncertainty. It only prolongs the risk of a labour disruption over an extended period of time. It is like suffering “death by a thousand cuts” as we say. So, how can we reach a settlement faster, while respecting both parties’ right to advance their position and avoiding negative impacts on CN railroaders, customers, and the economy? We think binding arbitration is the answer. Read below for an explanation on what binding arbitration is, what it’s not and why it is, at this point, the right thing to do.

    What is binding arbitration?

    • Binding arbitration is a process where both parties empower a mutually agreed upon independent arbitrator to resolve the impasse in their negotiations.
    • Binding arbitration preserves both parties’ ability to advocate for outstanding issues and perspectives.
    • The neutral arbitrator then sorts through the arguments and renders a decision. In simple terms, the arbitrator would determine the terms of a settlement between CN and the TCRC.
    • Binding arbitration is routinely used in resolving negotiations disputes and the arbitrator’s decision would be final.

    What it is not

    • It is not a way to force a position unto a party. Binding arbitration allows both parties to advocate for their position, just like they would in bargaining. In fact, the arbitrator’s mandate is to “replicate” the outcome that would have been reached in bargaining.

    Why binding arbitration?

    • The parties have been negotiating since November 2023 and we are no closer to a deal.
    • CN has now made multiple varied offers to the union. The union has indicated that they will not present any of those offers to employees.
    • The parties are at an impasse and further meetings are unlikely to unlock the issues.
    • The CIRB process is ongoing and no timelines are available at this time.
    • Our proposal is to enter into binding arbitration now, before any further incremental harm is done to customers and the economy, and before any wages are lost by employees.

Details of CN's Proposals to the TCRC:

CN's Initial Offer
Rejected by the Union 

CN's Offer on May 16
Attempting to Reach a Negotiated Settlement

  • $65/hour for conductors and $75/hour for locomotive engineers regardless of road or yard service
  • For those who earned more in 2023, their salary would have been protected at that level
  • Wage increases of 3% in 2024 and 2.5% in 2025
  • Job security and no layoffs
  • Layoff provisions remain the same
  • Decrease PLDs to 5
  • No change. Employees who currently have PLDs will be able to keep their PLDs
  • Increase in vacation
  • No change to the current vacation allotment
  • Mobile Workforce – could be forced to such position instead of layoff
  • Mobile Workforce – positions will only be awarded on voluntary basis
  • Rest in accordance with DRPR
  • Rest at home terminal is unchanged
  • KSS self-assessment remains unchanged per DRPR provisions

For employees in Western Canada covered by the 4.3, 1.2 and both BCR CBA’s:

  • Employees will not be put to bed enroute or to be tied up between terminals by the Company, except in emergency situations
  • Guaranteed 40 hours of work per week and a planned schedule with a minimum two consecutive days off
  • Ability to work up to 12 hours, and overtime after scheduled hours

For employees in Western Canada covered by the 4.3, 1.2 and both BCR CBA’s:

  • Duty periods are raised to a maximum of 12 hours
  • Reset breaks will be scheduled
  • CN is proposing a payment for duty hours beyond 10 hours
  • Guaranteed mileage of 3800 miles and 4300
  • No more than one rest period at an Away from Home Terminal

No change for employees in Eastern Canada

Other Improvements Include:

  • Improvements to meal allowances, including the all-inclusive
  • Boot allowance of $250 per year for all employees
  • Training allowance equivalent to an additional $7/hour
  • Outpost terminal travel allowance when using a personal vehicle equivalent to 50 cents per kilometer travelled and travel time