News & Reviews News Wire Canadian Pacific shutdown begins in Canada (updated)

Canadian Pacific shutdown begins in Canada (updated)

By David Lassen | March 20, 2022

Each side says the other initiated action; labor minister says talks continue

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Canadian Pacific Railway beaver logo

CALGARY, Alberta — With each side blaming the other, a dispute between Canadian Pacific and the union representing 3,000 train crew members and yard workers has led to a halt of the railroad’s operations in Canada.

Canada’s Minister of Labor, Seamus O’Regan, confirmed the stoppage had begun in a Twitter post at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Sunday, March 20, but said the railroad and Teamsters Canada Rail Conference “are still at the table with federal mediators. … We are monitoring the situation closely and expect the parties to keep working until they reach an agreement.”

In a statement issued a few minutes before the start of the lockout, the union said the railroad had initiated a lockout and “chose to put the Canadian supply chain and tens of thousands of jobs at risk.” A release from the railroad at 2:28 a.m. EDT said the union “withdrew its services and issued a news release misrepresenting the status of the talks” and failed to respond to the company’s latest offer prior to the 12:01 a.m. lockout deadline.

The union then issued an updated release that said that “to clarify, in addition to the lockout, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference is also on strike.”

In its 72-hour notification of plans to lock out the union, CP said it would do so unless the sides reached an agreement or the union agreed to accept binding arbitration [see “CP notifies union of intent to lock out crews in Canada,Trains News Wire, March 17, 2022].

The union said it was willing to explore such arbitration but was unable to reach an agreement with the railroad.

“Canadian Pacific management must be taken to task for this situation,” Teamsters Canada Rail Conference spokesman Dave Fulton said. “They set the deadline for a lockout to happen tonight, when we were willing to pursue negotiations. Even more so, they then moved the goalpost when it came time to discuss the terms of final and binding arbitration.”

The union said wages and pensions “remain major stumbling blocks,” but working conditions “that call into question the railway’s capacity to recruit and retain workforce members” are also at issue.

The railroad’s statement called the stoppage “a failure of the TCRC Negotiating Committee’s responsibility to negotiate in good faith.”

Canadian Pacific detailed an offer it had made to workers on Tuesday on a web page about the dispute. In announcing the planned lockout, CEO Keith Creel said the railroad “cannot prolong for weeks or months the uncertainty associated with a potential labor disruption.”

— Updated at 7 a.m. CDT with railroad statement, updated union statement.





11 thoughts on “Canadian Pacific shutdown begins in Canada (updated)

  1. Gerald. Automation DOES NOT MAKE the job of engineer easier. It adds more burden. For now, one not only must observe conditions along the ROW, you have to monitor the automation itself. Computers do fail and make errors. The engineer has to respond immediately to an automation failure. And heaven forbid if you’re prompted to do something and you don’t act fast enough to respond to it.
    And the railroads hire to fire. I had a clear signal drop on me and PTC did it’s job. The dispatcher came on and told me he saw what happened, no need to contact the PTC desk and OK’d me to proceed. A few miles later PTC desk comes on and grills me as to what happened and why I didn’t call them. Every train behind me was getting a bad signal at the same location.
    Then at home a get a message from a supervisor to contact him. Management wants to know why I got a PTC penalty and why it wasn’t reported. Yep. Automation makes my life easier. Knock of the air, put it in notch 8 and kick up my feet.

  2. Is the lockout for CP Canada only or CP USA also? How does this effect BNSF to CP interchange at Noyes/Emerson?

    Ed Burns

  3. To Gerald McFarland, why are Canadian pacific railroad engineer and conductors rates of pay or yearly incomes such a point to be made by you? Would you be opposed to let’s say an airline pilot making those wages? Which they on average do and higher than the regular railroad trainman. The fact of the matter is that railroaders get paid to be professional and they for the most part are darn good at what they do. Pay and benefit packages are generally a you get what you pay for proposition. If you pay low you get less. Railroaders in the states at least are among the most productive working classes per man hours worked than any other group in the us, and I’d venture to guess it’s not much different in Canada.If the belief isn’t there than look it up it’s right there in the bureau of labor statistics although I can’t speak for the Canadians but likewise I would probably suppose they’re once again similar. Many railroads these days are working their employees even harder and well if they’re worked harder and more then it stands to reason that they’d want more in return. So many times the general public that has no clue what operating crafts go through to earn the pay they get and automatically side with the company for their argument or reply. For that I’d say before you take a side walk a mile in say an engineer on the cp out on the road for a month or a year and then make your opinion. I’d venture to guess you’d change your mind in a second. The cp will spin their position just like they have to make it sound like they are the recipients of the villainous acts of the union, but let the operating craft unions have their say before conclusions are made. It’s not always black and white.

  4. Gerald….There are 3 sides to every story….Management, Union, and what the news media wants you to hear. It will play out, and there will be no winners, except the Top dogs on both sides. Keep in mind, this is a lock out, not a strike. And in my opinion, the want for CP management to take over the KCS and the promises they say they will do, this action by CP management doesn’t look too good for their trust down the road.

  5. This right here is all you need to know, and I don’t care if it’s from CP or not: “Since 2007, the TCRC members have enjoyed a wage increase of 43 percent, which exceeds the compounded inflation rate by nearly 20 percent.*
    Average CP TCRC locomotive engineer earnings in 2021: $135,442
    Top CP TCRC locomotive engineer earnings in 2021: $209,773
    Average CP TCRC conductor, trainperson or yardperson earnings in 2021: $107,872
    Top CP TCRC conductor, trainperson or yardperson earnings in 2021: $182,888
    Canadian average earnings in 2021: $65,138”
    Just what kind of increase does the union want on top of those salaries? Never mind the work schedule and being away from home(human contact is overrated as it is). Plus, with all the automation in today’s locomotives, just how much work does an engineer have to do, plus with PTC. Lifetime pension, plus two other sources of retirement income…no problems there, you should be scaling back your life a little after retirement anyways, not keep up the lifestyle you had while working(that goes for everyone except those will billions of dollars to retire on). One more thing, those contracts are to short, they should be for 8 – 10 years for this industry, maybe 6 at a minimum, but I definitely think 8 – 10 years is more a proper length of contract.

    1. Those pay figures are in Canadian Dollars. As of Friday March 18th the Canadian Dollar was worth 0.79 USD.

    2. Income taxes in most of Canada approach 50%. Sales tax is 13%. Gasoline costs 50% more than the US. In most large Canadian cities median home prices approach $1M.

      The PSR Kool aid they all drink has resulted in under investment and asset stripping, while executives and hedgies rake in obscene profits.

      More power to the unions. And hopefully we are entering an era of renewed government regulation of these predatory monopolies.

    3. The men and women in train service earn every penny they make. Unlike the upper management of most class one railroads these days who are payed millions for their half a## decisions. My dad was a locomotive engineer for 40 years and I know for a fact how he sacrificed to give us a good life.
      It always amazes me how some folks love to talk down Union labor, especially when it comes to the wages and benefits that they definitely earn. I’ve always imagined that their irritation comes from a deep frustration over the low pay and benefits and or bad treatment they themselves receive or received in their own jobs.
      Here’s an idea. Get yourself a Union job and quit begrudging what someone else earns. Especially when you have absolutely no idea what it really takes to do their job.

    4. In the US, there are few industries that still have substantial unions. Yes, this is one. While SOME of the unions are abusive, overall railroads want to destroy unions and reduce head count regardless of risk.

    5. We get it Gerald, you hate unions. Go take your bigotry somewhere else, you have no idea what you’re talking about. In 2021 CP made a profit of approximately $2.85 billion. Train and engine crews work on call, often with very little rest, and are subject to long layovers at the AFHT. We are often away from home for two days, perhaps more if we get a turn out of the AFHT. Management often ignores the collective agreements and bullies workers who stand up for safety or contract violations. And they still demand concessions. Management seems to think that they can use binding arbitration to force through concessions that they could never achieve at the negotiating table, and they have become used to the federal government taking their side in the form of back-to-work legislation, so have no reason to bargain in good faith. Keith Creel is Hunter Harrison 2.0, he just is better at hiding that attitude from the public.

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