Canada Government May Step In with union busting legislation to stop IBT Rail Strike


Canada Government May Step In with union busting legislation to stop IBT Rail Strike

Canada May Step In to Resolve Rail Strike


Published: May 27, 2012



TORONTO (Reuters) — Talks between the Canadian Pacific Railway and the union representing 4,800 striking locomotive engineers have broken down, paving the way for the Canadian government to bring in back-to-work legislation, the company said on Sunday.


“The mediator has withdrawn. The legislative process will now commence,” a Canadian Pacific spokesman, Ed Greenberg, said in an e-mail statement.
The Canadian government, concerned that a rail strike could hurt an economy still recovering from recession, has said it is prepared to introduce legislation that would force the strikers back to work.
The back-to-work bill has yet to be formally introduced in the Canadian Parliament. If the government speeds it through the legislative process, it could become law this week.
Members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference walked off the job last Wednesday after talks over pension issues broke down, shutting down freight traffic across the country. The walkout was called less than a week after the hedge fund manager William A. Ackman won a proxy battle for control of the railroad.
The union was not immediately available to comment on Sunday’s developments, but a message on its Twitter account said that mediators were no longer involved in its discussions with Canadian Pacific, and that no further talks were planned.
The majority Conservative government previously has used back-to-work legislation to end strikes at Air Canada, like Canadian Pacific a private company, and at the Canada Post, a publicly owned mail service.
Labor Minister Lisa Raitt, who has said the Canadian Pacific strike could cost 540 million Canadian dollars ($524 million) in lost economic activity each week, said on Sunday that the government was consulting with businesses to see how deeply the strike was hampering their operations. She did not say how soon the back-to-work legislation might land.
Companies have scrambled to find alternative ways to ship their grain, coal, fertilizer, autos and other goods. One industry group, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, called on Sunday for the government to immediately intervene to end the dispute.
Canadian Pacific’s routes are mostly in western Canada and in the United States, though the American operations are not affected by the strike.