CN union extends contract ratification deadline - Records show hundreds of new members didn't receive ballots

    OTTAWA, March 20 /CNW/ - The United Transportation Union today announced
an agreement with CN Rail to extend the voting deadline for contract
ratification from March 26th to April 9, with the votes to be counted and
results announced April 10 at 5:00pm.
    The original deadline was set aside, union officials said, after phone
calls were received from some union members reporting they had not received
ballots. The calls prompted a review and cross checking of records which
revealed that 617 recently hired CN employees and UTU members had been missed
in the original ballot mailing. There are 2,800 UTU members in total working
at CN Rail. The records had been maintained by the former General Chairperson
who was removed by UTU on February 19, 2007.
    "As soon as we realized some union members had been missed," UTU Canadian
Legislative Director Tim Secord said, "we contacted CN Rail and arranged for
an extension of the voting period."
    "This union is eager to have the contract ratified," said Secord, "but
ultimately it has to be the union members who make that decision and that
means we have to get them the ballots even if it takes a few more days."
    Secord acknowledged that extending the deadline adds to the insecurity
surrounding the vote result which, he said, "is far from certain."
    Secord says federal back to work legislation, Bill C-46, including the
threat of forced arbitration using Final Offer Selection, remains on the books
and is expected to be moved ahead for quick passage if the ratification fails.
The UTU opposes back to work legislation and its interference in the
collective bargaining process.
    UTU Officials in Canada have been urging acceptance of the one year pact
which includes a 3 percent wage increase, $1,000 cash signing bonus,
improvements in the extended health care and dental plans and a continuation
of employee train pass privileges.
    "The UTU supports ratification of this 1-year agreement so that
bargaining can begin in the fall of 2007 to address a great many outstanding
issues." Tim Secord said.

For further information:

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

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