Bill To End Strike Won't End Strife, Say Union Leaders

    UTU Vows to Continue Fight

    OTTAWA, April 17 /CNW/ - United Transportation Union leaders reacted
swiftly and vehemently to the passage of back-to-work legislation today,
vowing to continue the fight over worker dissatisfaction with work rules and
conditions at CN, dissatisfaction the UTU says gave rise to their national
rail strike and caused a 79% rejection vote by their 2,800 members against a
tentative contract deal on April 10th.
    The UTU also warned CN not to attempt to use the legislation and its
arbitration provision to pursue a wrong-headed and illegal plan to break up
the UTU's national bargaining unit and replace it with regional bargaining
units. CN Rail announced its intention of pushing regionally bargained
contracts in an April 16th press release and the UTU has promised to challenge
this before the Canada Industrial Relations Board, calling it an unfair labour
    "This Bill appears to be intended to pave the way for CN Rail to attack
our rights. They want to break up our bargaining unit in order to weaken the
workers' ability to stop management from pushing older workers out of the way
and manipulating work rules and schedules at workers' expense," UTU
Vice-President John Armstrong said today.
    The UTU expressed anger that railworkers are the target, for the first
time in more than a decade, of government legislation against a legal strike.
    Armstrong challenged the need for the legislation by pointing out that it
was CN, not the union, that slowed rail traffic by imposing a lockout and
keeping workers home from multiple worksites, including the CN yard at the
port of Vancouver.
    The federal Government used closure to force Bill C-46 through Parliament
today. Section 7 of the Bill provides for an immediate end to any strike or
lockout at CN Rail. It is expected that the Bill will receive Royal Assent
sometime on Thursday.

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For further information: Susan Reisler, Media Profile: (416) 342-1843

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