Teamsters, CP Rail sign 5-year deal for maintenance workers

Labor peace with 3 per cent annual increases, expensive outsourcing curtailed, increased benefits, a commitment to maintaining track and safety for workers and public living near lines

OTTAWA, Dec. 11, 2012 /CNW/ - Teamsters Canada is delighted to announce a 5-year labor deal with CP Rail that will help increase the company's efficiencies and lower their operating ratio; while at the same time protecting maintenance workers' jobs and providing a 15 per cent increase in wages over the life of the contract. This is an historic deal for these Teamster members with undeniable benefits for CP Rail.

"Bargaining this time was much different than in years prior," says William Brehl, president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, Maintenance of Way Employees Division. "Not only were talks more civil, but the company used a conscience as well as a calculator. We have brokered an agreement for labor peace which allows the company flexibility, while greatly enhancing the quality of life for our members."

Brehl's division represents more than 2,600 CP Rail workers who maintain, repair and build the track, bridges and structures. He said new CEO Hunter Harrison and his team is quickly changing the culture of CP Rail as the company moves to lift its operating efficiencies.

"They're cutting fat, not muscle," Brehl says. "And presently, they're working with us instead of treating us like enemies which was the modus operandi of previous regimes. The long term safe and productive operation of the railroad is in all of our best interests."

For years, the Teamsters have argued that outsourcing track renewal was more expensive for a number of reasons. "Previous management would never accept this or even listen to our argument. They just kept hiring managers, and expensive out-sourcing firms, and cutting our membership to the bone. On average there was one manager for every 10 workers. That's a great ratio for teachers in the classroom but our members are trained professionals, not school children. Hunter Harrison's team looked at the numbers and agreed with us. In-sourcing the work will save money and save CP Rail jobs," Brehl says.

The deal must be ratified by members, which is expected sometime in January.

Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees Division (TCRC-MWED), a division of Teamsters Canada, represents more than 4,000 maintenance of way workers at Canadian railways. Its members are involved in inspecting, monitoring and repairing the tracks, bridges and structures on the network. TCRC-MWED's mission is to make sure that the railway is safe, in spite of any economic, managerial or other obstacles.


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Lise Cyr

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