Canadian Conductors Back on Strike

April 11, 2007: Canadian conductors are back on strike against the Canadian National line after UTU members rejected a tentative agreement by 79 percent, with over 80 percent of members voting.

The UTU International has called a rotating strike, starting with CN sites in Oakville, Ontario and Vancouver and Kamloops, British Columbia. The UTU hasn’t said when other CN trainmen will join them on the picket lines.

This strike is the second time UTU members have walked out this year. On Feb.10, UTU members went on strike on all CN lines in Canada.

Members and their local leaders stood strong in February, but the UTU International refused to endorse the strike. The strike ended only after International President Paul Thompson canned the strike leaders and agreed to a substandard settlement with the CN.

Thompson’s proposed agreement was the same as the company’s last offer before the strike. With four out of five voters rejecting the agreement, UTU members couldn’t be clearer about what they think of Thompson’s negotiating skill.

Since the February strike, many UTU members have been pushing to leave the UTU and join the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. How the UTU leadership handles this strike may determine if the CN trainmen stay or leave the UTU.

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