CN Rail, union resume contract talks

Thu Dec 3, 2009 12:06pm EST
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By Susan Taylor

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway Co is resuming labor talks on Thursday with its locomotive engineers after a brief strike, with a one-week deadline to reach a deal on wages, benefits and contract length.

The talks come a day after Canada's largest railway reached a settlement with 1,700 unionized engineers to end their walkout, which started early on Saturday.

"CN's negotiators will be meeting with (union) negotiators and the mediators today. The arbitrator has not been selected," CN spokesman Mark Hallman told Reuters.

"The length of the contract is an item for discussion between CN and the union and if the parties do not reach agreement that term of the contract will be decided by the arbitrator."

If the two sides cannot reach an agreement by December 10, outstanding wage, benefit and contract term issues will go to binding arbitration. Work-rule issues can go to binding arbitration only if the company and union agree.

The arbitrator will have 90 days after appointment to report a decision, Hallman said.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference union was not immediately available for comment.

Engineers went on strike after CN unilaterally imposed a 1.5 percent wage increase and raised their monthly mileage cap to 4,300 miles from 3,800 after 14 months of negotiation failed to produce a new contract.   Continued...

<p>Rail cars sit in the CN MacMillan Yard in Toronto February 10, 2007. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski</p>