CN says ready to meet with Teamsters, conciliators

Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:26pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway Co said on Friday that it is ready to meet with two conciliators, recently appointed by Ottawa, and the Teamsters union to discuss a labor deal.

The federal minister of labor said it appointed Rejean Bercier and Jacques Lessard as conciliation officers on June 29 to resolve issues between the company and union, which represents 1,700 locomotive engineers.

"We're ready to meet and waiting for them to schedule a date," said CN director of communications Mark Hallman.

The previous contract with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference unit, which was not immediately available for comment, expired December 31, 2008.

The railway said it has not held talks with the union since late 2008, but believes it is in the company's and employees' interest to forge a collective agreement. It will not identify outstanding issues.

Scheduled to announce financial results July 20, CN is operating under tough economic conditions and sagging demand. The company, which operates in the United States and Canada, has made operational changes in recent years to cut costs.

UBS analysts say the key points they will monitor in rail sector results is executive confidence on pricing and the ability to offset "massive volume declines" with cost cutting.

"Given the lingering weakness in recent carload data, we don't expect anyone to call the bottom with any conviction, but any positive commentary on volumes will likely be viewed favorably by investors," the analysts said in a note on Friday.

CN shares were up 73 Canadian cents, at C$45.60 on the Toronto Stock Exchange and 61 cents higher at $39.20 on New York on Friday.

(Reporting by Susan Taylor; editing by Janet Guttsman)

 
<p>In this file photo rail cars sit in the CN MacMillan Yard in Toronto February 10, 2007. Canadian National Railway Co said on Friday that it is ready to meet with two conciliators, recently appointed by Ottawa, and the Teamsters union to discuss a labor deal. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski</p>