Re-Open CN Contract

Toronto, Ontario

December 3, 1998


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Re-Open CN Contract
Re-Open CN Contract
dated December 3, 1998

Toronto, Ontario 
Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President
"I'll defend workers rights, if that means that the law gets in the way of those rights, then we'll challenge the law."






Hargrove says that during contract negotiations this summer CN Rail President Paul Tellier assured him and top CAW leadership that major restructuring was over. According to Hargrove, Tellier said that CAW members could look forward to new opportunities as the company grows. Based on those assurances a new contract was hammered out with CN and ratified by the CAW membership.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

"We were absolutely shocked when about six weeks later the same Mr. Tellier, in a press release, after the end of the business day, with no notice to our union or any of the unions, released a further restructuring where they declared the further layoff of more than 3,000 people. We later found that 1,075 of those people would be CAW members, but everyone was impacted, all unions and it was horrific news to us."

The company has refused union demands to cancel layoffs. The CAW has asked the newly appointed federal Labour Minister, Claudette Bradshaw to intervene and set aside the new agreement. This would allow the CAW to the bargaining table with a strike mandate to resolve the issue. It also wants an order instructing CN to stop excessive overtime, that is being worked to fill the gap created by previous job cuts. So far in 1998, CAW members alone have worked over one million hours of overtime at CN Rail. That's the equivalent of the 600 full time jobs.

Gary Fane
CAW Transportation Director

"Let our case go in front of the Canada Labour Relations Board. We can't have a hearing unless she grants us permission. We're not asking her permission to give us the right to strike. We're asking her to tell the Canada Labour Relations Board that they will hear our case so that our members, our workers have their day in court and then the Canada Labour Relations Board can make a decision."

CN Rail has failed to give the union the proper layoff notice as required by law, nor has it provided a list of workers, communities or departments to be affected. If the government doesn't act, Hargrove says the union will.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

"When laws are violated by employers everybody throws up their hands. If the Labour Board and the Minister throws up their hands, then we think we'll have to take further action and we'll define that as we go along."



CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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