cn strike

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.

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.

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."​

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.

Both parties have said that they're still in talks and hope to reach a fair agreement as soon as possible.

Lead photo by

Nicoli OZ Mathews

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