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Rail News: Labor

CN reaches tentative agreement with Unifor, withdraws lockout notice

CN late yesterday announced it negotiated a tentative agreement with Unifor and withdrew a lockout notice to the union that would have taken effect prior to midnight if a contract hadn't been settled.

Details of the tentative agreement are being withheld pending ratification by members of Unifor, CN's largest union that represents about 4,800 of the Class I's mechanics, clerical workers, excavator operators, locomotive engineers and truck drivers. The union is expected to hold ratification meetings and announce vote results within the next three weeks.

CN and Unifor engaged in sometimes contentious negotiations over the past several months, with the union threatening a strike vote and the railroad preparing a lockout.

"We are very pleased that the company and union were able to find common ground on a tentative new labor contract. This settlement forecloses the prospect of a potential labor disruption that would have harmed CN's employees, its customers and the Canadian economy," said CN President and Chief Executive Officer Claude Mongeau in a press release.

Unifor has six collective agreements with CN. Talks between the parties were assisted by Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services. The union had committed to federal mediators that if a lockout occurred, Montreal ‎commuter service would not have been disrupted, Unifor officials said.

"We're pleased that we were able to reach a negotiated agreement and avoid a major national lockout of our members," said Unifor President Jerry Dias. "We were able to find solutions to the concerns raised by our members — this is best achieved at the bargaining table."

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