CN Rail conductor union says doesn't want strike

Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:29pm EDT
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - The union representing 2,700 train conductors and other workers at Canadian National Railway Co Ltd will not serve strike notice unless the company is intent on making drastic changes to their labor agreement, a union spokesman said on Tuesday.

Negotiators from the Teamsters Rail Conference, representing CN's train conductors, yardmen and traffic coordinators, and from Canada's biggest railroad are in talks to stave off a work stoppage that could come as early as Friday.

"It is very unlikely that we will serve strike notice unless they change the terms of conditions," Teamsters spokesman Bryan Boechler told Reuters. He said the union's willingness to go on strike will depend how drastic the changes are that CN wants to make to the labor contract.

"Nobody wins with a strike," Boechler added.

On Monday the Teamsters issued a statement saying the union was pessimistic about the outcome of the talks. It accused CN of starting the countdown to a strike or lockout after it requested conciliation after only six days of talks.

CN said in a statement on Tuesday that it still hopes to sign a new contract without labor disruption through talks guided by a federal government-appointed mediator.

But getting a deal "will require some union flexibility and give and take," CN said.

Ninety percent of union members recently voted in favor of authorizing a strike if no agreement is reached. The two sides must now give 72 hours' notice of a strike or lockout.

The workers have been without a work contract since July 22.   Continued...