Renewed labour disruptions feared at CN Rail



    Inter-union rivalries and leadership disputes raise stability stakes

    OTTAWA, March 15 /CNW/ - UTU-Canada said today that it foresees renewed
uncertainty on Canadian/U.S. rail routes due to inter-union rivalries as well
as opposition from a former UTU-Canada Chairperson who is campaigning
aggressively to have members scuttle the February 24th Settlement with CN
Rail.
    One of Canada's oldest unions, the UTU represents about 2,800 conductors,
brakespersons, and yard operators employed by CN in Canada where the
UTU-Canada has been engaged in a legal strike with active picketing from
February 10 to 25, 2007 when a settlement, subject to ratification, was
agreed.
    "We're concerned that both the Teamsters' raid on our members and former
Chairperson Rex Beatty's opposition to the Settlement with CN Rail may mean
failure to ratify the February 24 Settlement," said Tim Secord, National
Legislative Director and UTU-Canada's senior officer.
    The members' ratification vote results will be announced in 11 days, on
March 26, 2007.
    "With Beatty's assistance, the Teamsters are raiding our members and have
applied for certification to the CIRB (Canada Industrial Relations Board) for
the right to represent our members," said Secord. "Beatty is telling our guys
to vote down the CN Settlement as part of his game plan to take over
UTU-Canada. And that could mean more uncertainty for Canadian businesses and
all Canadians."
    During the work stoppage that brought many Canadian and American
businesses to a near-halt, UTU International President Paul Thompson removed
Chairperson Beatty, and replaced him on February 20 with two former
Chairpersons who then reached a Settlement with CN Rail on February 24.
    Members remain on strike, with strike action suspended during the
ratification process now underway until the March 26 vote. Most members have
voluntarily returned to work as encouraged by the UTU.
    On February 23, Federal Minister of Labour, Pierre Blackburn introduced
Bill C-46 which would order UTU members back to work and send negotiations to
a Final Offer Selection Arbitrator.
    "We know arbitration is not in the best interests of our members. We're
trying to get the Settlement ratified but the Teamsters' raid and Beatty's
career path are getting in the way," said Secord.





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For further information: Susan Reisler, Media Profile, (416) 504-8464

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