Canada's rail network was just shut down as CN workers go on strike
More than 3,000 unionized train operators have walked off the job today in Canada after failing to reach a new contract agreement with their employer, Canadian National Railway Co.
CN, a publicly traded company, had been negotiating with workers represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference for five months ahead of today's strike, which took effect at midnight in the absence of a deal.
Picket lines went up across Canada this morning. In Winnipeg, CN rail workers slowed traffic during the morning rush. Workers say they're worried about long hours, fatigue and what they consider dangerous conditions. I'll tell you about the impact of a strike on @CBCWorldatSix. pic.twitter.com/UyImP7WxFJ— Karen Pauls (@karenpaulscbc) November 19, 2019
With no conductors or yard workers in the mix, Canada's largest rail network has effectively come to a halt.
Via Rail trains are not affected by the strike, nor are any commuter trains Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. People can still get around by train as they need to — but goods can't, which might be even more troublesome in the long run.
Canada's agricultural, mining, chemical and marine sectors are but a few that stand to lose on account of the strike.
Grain elevators, for instance, will have to stop taking crop deliveries from farmers due to a lack of storage, according to the Globe and Mail, which notes that CN moves about half of the western grain crop in the prairies to B.C and Ontario.
3,000 railroad union peoplekind have gone on strike. #CN wont ship grain for Western farmers but commuters in TO, Montreal and Vancouver are looked after. Trudeau & his Cabinet. It’s serious.— Carol Husband (@CarolHusband) November 19, 2019
🇨🇦’s Federa Govt is determined to bankrupt the West.
A representative for the Mining Association of Canada similarly told the globe that the loss in rail capacity will "trigger the closure of mines with concurrent lay-offs of thousands of employees beginning in a matter of days."
Today over 3000 workers at CN Rail have gone on strike. These employees are exercising their Charter protected rights to engage in job action as they negotiate a new collective agreement with their employer. #ableg #cdnpoli #cnrail pic.twitter.com/sRiXkiWuze— Christina Gray (@ChristinaNDP) November 19, 2019
Canada's federal government is urging both the union and CN brass back to the table for extended contract talks in an effort to avoid a long work stoppage.
CN Rail yard workers are on strike across Canada today and the Alberta government is urging the feds to resume parliament and address the CN Rail strike immediately #cnrail @CityNewsYEG pic.twitter.com/8Shn2IbRiZ— Laura Krause (@LauraKrauseYEG) November 19, 2019
Both parties have said that they're still in talks and hope to reach a fair agreement as soon as possible.
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