cn strike update

A tentative deal has been reached to end the CN Rail strike

After a week of striking that led to propane shortages and issues moving key commodities like grain and fertilizer across the country and overseas, the Canadian National Railway Co. is back in business.

A tentative agreement was reached today between CN — which owns more than half of the country's tens of thousands of kilometres of rail lines — and its 3,200 employees, represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference union.

Workers walked off the job on November 19, citing concerns about things like job safety, working conditions and benefits.

The compromise will see the renewal of the existing collective agreement for employees including conductors, trainpersons and those that work in rail yards, pending ratification.

The strike affected the movement of commodities, not commuters, with Canada's agricultural sector taking a significant blow as the rail line operated at about 10 per cent capacity this past week.

Short-term layoffs were issued by companies ranging from potash mines to ports, and some stakeholders had to consider halting or did actually halt production because of the labour dispute. Others, like farmers, asked the government to step in to stop the strike.

Exports were impacted, with international ships left waiting at Canada's coasts for goods that weren't coming. CN Rail shares dropped nearly 5 per cent. If it continued, the strike could have cost the country's economy billions of dollars.

In a release, the union thanked its members, the public, and even Prime Minister Trudeau and other members of the government for "respecting workers' right to strike."

CN will be up and running normally again across Canada starting at 6 am local time on Wednesday.

Lead photo by

Nicoli Oz Mathews

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