CN Rail Agreement

August 28, 1998


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Re-Open CN Contract
CN Rail Agreement
dated August 28, 1998 

CN Rail Agreement
A tentative three-year agreement with CN Rail has improved wages, pensions and most importantly broken the historic follow-the-leader bargaining tactic of the rail industry.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National president
"There is no argument any longer they we have to accept an imposed settlement. That if the unions show discipline, we have shown that if you show solidarity and discipline and don't interfere with other union's bargaining you can do damn well bargaining with this rail management. They are making a lot of money and our members are entitled to share in it. We will not accept any longer anybody screwing that up.

The CAW strategy was two pronged. The first involved patience and timing.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National president
"Establishing that the other unions had their contracts in place and us waiting and sure that was done and ratified was an important part of our strategy.
It was frustrating for some of our members who had to wait but I think now they will see the benefits. " of being able to bargain without interference from others."


The second key strategy was to go directly to CN Rail's customers.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National president
"Our bargaining committee led by Gary Fane and Abe Rosner, Rick Johnston, and John Moore-Gough decided to notify the customers that there could be a strike here but that it wouldn't take place on our initiative until October 5th. Well it still spooked a lot of customers and they started moving their business. So Mr. Tellier had to make a decision to either lock us out or to bargain. Locking us out wouldn't have been very smart. Bargaining was the better choice and that made the difference."

The marathon bargaining session appeared stalled until a meeting between CN's President and CAW national President Buzz Hargrove. The result was a new agreement, particularly regarding pensions.

Abe Rosner
CAW Bargaining Committee
"It's an improvement which just on the face of it is going to add $210 a month for every retires paycheck who retires after January first, 1999. There are many other improvements, our indexation has increased, and survivor benefits have been increased from 50 to 55 per cent across the board with no extra cost. There is a $20 million payout to existing retirees on top of that."

The agreement also calls for a two per cent increase in wages for each year of the contract along with recognition of work ownership and new contracting out language. The bargaining committee, representing the four CAW union groups at CN Rail are now taking the tentative three-year agreement with CN Rail back for ratification by their 6,500 members. The final ratification results are expected by September 3rd.


CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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