Letter #2 - All TCRC Members

March 1, 2024 All TCRC Members,

This update is further to the membership letter sent February 19th, 2024 on behalf of the 3 Bargaining Committees currently in active negotiations (Running Trade members at CPKC and CN, Rail Traffic Controllers at CPKC). In that update we reported the state of negotiations and that we were awaiting the appointment of Conciliation Officers due to the concerted efforts of both carriers.

The government has now appointed conciliation officers to all three groups effective March 1 st . The parties are currently scheduling dates and will begin conciliation as soon as possible. Our previous letter explained this phase will last 60 days (unless mutually agreed) and will then be followed by the required 21 day “cooling off” period. The soonest a work stoppage can occur is May 21st.

The TCRC is currently arranging the appropriate strike vote(s) which will begin April 8th. The process will be electronic without a mail out portion. As a result, the TCRC must have an email on record for you to receive a ballot. We again remind and request every member to ensure their contact information is up to date. It is also important to understand that while all balloting will be conducted at the same time, strike votes will be tabulated based on the bargaining group.

Regarding the negotiation process itself, there have been no meetings since our last update (due to the concerted Notices of Dispute filed by the carriers). However, a notable development has been the recent letter and package CPKC mailed to all Running Trade employees, which included 2 offers tabled by the company during previous negotiation sessions (Option 1 and Option 2). The affected bargaining committee has already issued a brief response (Bulletin #5), with more to follow which will include commentary on the specific demands. It is important to know that the TCRC was unaware this package was being mailed until the date deliveries began (February 28th).

The TCRC believes this to be a good example of CPKC’s complete lack of respect and illustrates how out of touch they are with their employees. But with regards to the TCRC it also demonstrates the collective bargaining process and the importance of allowing each respective committee to do their job in attaining an agreement that the membership will ratify. The TCRC has the greatest respect for its members to not insult your collective intelligence with such a ridiculous proposal. Yet CPKC seems to believe otherwise.

There are shockingly similar proposals from CN. An hourly rate that the carriers claim is an overall average of today’s wages. Even if this was factual, simple math would demonstrate this means a pay cut for half of the membership. We agree the membership requires a substantial wage increase considering the post-pandemic Canadian economy, but it certainly will not come at the expense of wage-earners in the higher half of that equation.

An hourly rate that includes the removal of road/yard preference. Job preference, and as a result seniority would become essentially redundant. Not only for the bidding of one’s actual assignment, but within each tour of duty as well. Simply go to work for 12 hours and do what you are told, take the minimum rest and repeat. Another demand that illustrates a naivete when it comes to understanding the membership’s values.

An hourly rate that includes the wholesale removal of basically every quality-of-life provision attained through years of fighting, and even removing some provisions that were negotiated and agreed to by the parties not later than last year. This would erase decades of battles and hardships experienced by the membership. A ridiculous assertion that the DRPR regulations are all that is required to maintain a life away from the employer. These are disturbing demands from employers that have no sense of what it is like to railroad in today’s environment.

While the issues facing the RTCs at CPKC are obviously different contractually, they are no less disturbing or important. An overworked membership that is chronically 25% understaffed. Countless provisions in the Collective Agreement that cannot be utilized because of the understaffing. A net loss for all hiring that took place since 2021 because of the toxic work environment. All of this coupled with a management perspective that is convinced the problem lies with the employees. These members are vital to the carrier’s operation, but are an equally vital part of our membership. Please remember these Sisters and Brothers share in this fight through the ongoing weeks ahead, and support them whenever possible.

All of this comes during a multi-year period of growth and success. On the heels of an almost $40 billion acquisition of an American Class 1 railroad. Executive compensation among the highest in North America. And the complete disdain of our negotiated ability to deal with ongoing issues through the grievance procedure. There is absolutely nothing these carriers can provide to persuade us or the public that they require these concessions at the negotiating table.

At the risk of repeating some points in the previous update, the strategy to achieve these concessions is not only outrageous, but absolutely irresponsible. They have colluded to instigate a race towards a work stoppage. There is no limit to the lengths they will sink in the continuous service of greed. And it clearly includes putting the Canadian public on the table in that process.

This is not anything new from the carriers, what is new is the veracity in which they are seeking these concessions. We believe you, the membership, can easily distinguish these outlandish attempts to convince you or the country otherwise. And with a united front we will continue to push for an agreement. If one cannot be achieved we will certainly exercise every right to withdraw our services. The government is fully aware of such a reality.

The TCRC has and continues to engage every resource available in this pursuit. Teamsters Canada has been an invaluable resource, be it media, lobbying, or the overarching and unwavering support in general that is required to face these billion-dollar corporations. Legal counsel also remains at our beck and call and provides guidance that is second to none. The TCRC gratefully acknowledges and thanks them for their support during such an important time.

The TCRC humbly requests that the membership have faith in their Bargaining Committees. Remain united with every Brother and Sister – in your own TCRC Division and beyond. The coming weeks will be trying for all involved and we cannot let CN or CPKC think they can win on what likely will be the most important contract session of anyone’s career.

In closing we cannot overemphasize the importance to be involved in your Union. We will provide further updates on the strike vote as the date draws closer. As before, the TCRC App continues to be a direct source of quick information – which we can guarantee will be accurate to the very best of our ability.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, we remain,

PDF Copy of this letter

In Solidarity,

Dave Fulton
General Chairman - CTY West

Greg Lawrenson 
General Chairman - LE West

Wayne Apsey 
General Chairman - CTY East

Ed Mogus
General Chairman - LE  East

Mark Kernaghan  
General Chair                                                            
TCRC Central LE

Jean-Michel Hallé 
General Chair                                                            
TCRC Lines East LE

Jason Bailey 
General Chair                                                             

KC James 
General Chair                                                           

Jim Lennie
General Chair                                                            
TCRC Central CTY

Ray Donegan
General Chair                                                            

Alain Gatien
General Chair                                                           
TCRC Lines East CTY

Paul Boucher - TCRC President
Ryan Finnson - TCRC Vice President