CN and Unifor unable to reach full agreement today on negotiated settlement during Ottawa meeting with conciliation officials but will resume bargaining tomorrow

With Feb. 23 lockout deadline looming, CN advises customers it may have to deploy labour contingency plan

If Unifor agrees to let specially-trained employees work during a dispute, CN will protect electric-powered Montreal commuter trains

MONTREAL, Feb. 22, 2015 /CNW/ - CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI) met the leadership of Unifor for several hours in Ottawa today with officials of the government's Federal Conciliation and Mediation Service but was unable to negotiate all terms of a new contract. However, the two parties will meet again first thing tomorrow morning in Ottawa to resume collective bargaining.

In the circumstances, CN reiterates that binding arbitration may ultimately be the best way to avoid a lockout of the union's 4,800 members at 2300 hours local time on Feb. 23.

Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive, said: "CN met the leadership of Unifor in Ottawa today for several hours in the presence of top federal government conciliators but unfortunately was unable to fully reach common ground with the union on a negotiated settlement. The parties will resume talks tomorrow morning in Ottawa. We reiterate that binding arbitration may be the best way to prevent a labour dispute with Unifor members tomorrow evening. Arbitration is the proper, impartial forum to decide in fairness what terms are most in line with the interest of CN employees represented by Unifor.

"CN has amicably negotiated three collective agreements recently with the Teamsters union, and reached an early contract renewal with the United Steelworkers prior to its agreement expiring at the end of December. These settlements clearly show that CN can find common ground to benefit its employees."

In the absence of a negotiated settlement or agreement on binding arbitration by tomorrow evening, CN will deploy its labour contingency plan, with trained management personnel safely performing the work of Unifor members, to protect service to the best of its ability. CN has begun to advise its customers in Canada of that possibility.

CN also said it is prepared to supervise specially-trained employees represented by Unifor who maintain electric-powered Montreal commuter trains if the union agrees to allow them to work during any dispute. That would ensure no disruption of those commuter train operations.

Mongeau said: "We are again urging Unifor to see that binding arbitration is the most sensible way to settle our differences. A work stoppage is in no one's interest. Our employees deserve to stay on their jobs, CN's customers need to be served, and Canada's reputation as a trading nation should not be put at risk by a labour dispute that can be avoided."

Unifor represents approximately 4,800 CN employees in mechanical, intermodal, clerical and other areas of the company's business in Canada.

CN is a true backbone of the economy, transporting more than C$250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business sectors, ranging from resource products to manufactured products to consumer goods, across a rail network spanning Canada and mid-America. CN – Canadian National Railway Company, along with its operating railway subsidiaries – serves the cities and ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. For more information on CN, visit the Company's website at www.cn.ca.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain information included in this news release is "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and under Canadian securities laws. CN cautions that, by their nature, these forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The Company cautions that its assumptions may not materialize and that current economic conditions render such assumptions, although reasonable at the time they were made, subject to greater uncertainty. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results or performance of the Company or the rail industry to be materially different from the outlook or any future results or performance implied by such statements.

Important risk factors that could affect the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the effects of general economic and business conditions, industry competition, inflation, currency and interest rate fluctuations, changes in fuel prices, legislative and/or regulatory developments, compliance with environmental laws and regulations, actions by regulators, various events which could disrupt operations, including natural events such as severe weather, droughts, floods and earthquakes, labor negotiations and disruptions, environmental claims, uncertainties of investigations, proceedings or other types of claims and litigation, risks and liabilities arising from derailments, and other risks detailed from time to time in reports filed by CN with securities regulators in Canada and the United States. Reference should be made to "Management's Discussion and Analysis" in CN's annual and interim reports, Annual Information Form and Form 40-F filed with Canadian and U.S. securities regulators, available on CN's website, for a summary of major risks.

CN assumes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect future events, changes in circumstances, or changes in beliefs, unless required by applicable Canadian securities laws. In the event CN does update any forward-looking statement, no inference should be made that CN will make additional updates with respect to that statement, related matters, or any other forward-looking statement.

SOURCE CN

For further information: CN Contacts: Media: Mark Hallman, Director, Communications & Public Affairs, (905) 669-3384; Investment Community: Janet Drysdale, Vice-President, Investor Relations, (514) 399-0052

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