Canadian Pacific Stoppage Ended by Binding Arbitration

A two-day strike at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference ended when both sides agreed to binding arbitration to end a dispute covering approximately 3,000 train crew workers.

The Teamsters unit, which represents locomotive engineers and conductors, went on strike soon after midnight Feb. 15. The return to work the morning of Feb. 17 on the Alberta-based carrier’s Canadian lines followed action in Parliament over the intervening weekend to draw up legislation that would have forced the strikers back to work.

“This decision ensures both sides will get back to the table,” Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrison said. “While we would have preferred a negotiated settlement, this is the right thing to do at this time.”

CP managers who were qualified train operators ran a reduced schedule during the walkout. U.S. operations of Canadian Pacific weren’t interrupted since the company has a separate contract with U.S. unions.

Union President Douglas Finnson said “the worst thing that could happen is a legislated process. The better option is to use a fair mediation and arbitration dispute resolution” to address issues such as fatigue management and unresolved contract-related grievances.

Canadian Pacific said it separately reached a tentative four-year agreement with Unifor, a Canadian union that represents about 1,200 mechanical workers who maintain locomotives and freight cars.