CN–IBEW Strike in Canada Enters Its Third Day; Two Other Contract Negotiations Loom

A strike at Canadian National Railway (CN), which began on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at 11:00 AM EDT by approximately 750 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), entered its third day on Tuesday (6-21-22) with no signs of a settlement in sight. The IBEW communications and signal workers are responsible for maintaining rail crossings, ensuring switches work properly and conducting train inspections.

CN said that both sides began working on an agreement in October of 2021. As the strike deadline approached, CN offered binding arbitration, which the union declined. The sides last ratified a five-year contract in April 2017.

According to CN, despite the disruption, its daily operations will not be impacted. The company “implemented its operational contingency plan” on June 20. “The plan allows [CN] to maintain a normal level of safe rail operations across Canada and serve its customers for as long as required.”

As the IBEW strike continues, rail watchers, especially those who rely on CN for grain movement, noted that CN has two major upcoming union labor negotiations with its employees. The contract between the railway its 3,289 conductors and yard coordinators, which CN and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference ratified in 2021, expires on July 23, 2022. Contracts with track forces, shopcraft, locomotive engineers, and clerical and intermodal staff expire on December 31, 2022.

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CN employees on strike across Canada