Crop harvest resumes as tentative deal reached
After a weeklong strike, resulting in propane shortages and halting many agricultural activities, Canadian National Railway and Teamsters Canada came to a tentative agreement Tues., Nov. 26. Glover photo

ONTARIO – After a weeklong strike, Teamsters Canada and Canadian National (CN) Railway have finally reached a tentative deal on Tues., Nov. 26. Among the many impacts of the rail strike, it halted propane shipments, threatening supply for both Ontario and Quebec and slowing down farmers’ already delayed harvest.

This new agreement will renew contracts for 3,200 conductors, trainpersons and yard workers and normal operations at CN will resume tomorrow at 6 a.m. local time across Canada.

“I am pleased to announce that we’ve reached a tentative agreement with CN. I would like to thank our members for their incredible courage and solidarity,” said the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte in an official statement from Teamsters Canada’s website. “I would also like to thank all the Teamster local unions from across different industries, all the labour organizations and members of the public who supported us on the picket line.”

Details of this new agreement will not be released until members have had a chance to review the details first and there will be no job action during the ratification period. These results are expected within the next eight weeks.

“We want to thank our customers for their patience and support and assure them that CN is preparing to resume full rail operations as soon as possible,” said JJ Ruest, president and chief executive officer of CN in an official statement. “I would also like to personally thank our employees who kept the railroad moving safely at a reduced capacity. CN and its people are committed to moving the North American economy by providing freight service that enables economic growth.”

The CN strike began on Tues., Nov. 19 because, according to the union, the work environment was unsafe, and they had been in negotiations for months. The workers were demanding improvements to workplace health and safety after nine workers reportedly died in railway related incidents over the past two years.

As a result of this strike, Quebec had put up a propane notice for supply emergency, stating that it would only be days before running out; and Ontario was not far behind. Farmers were in danger of losing acres of crops without proper drying capabilities.

Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry MP Eric Duncan, who had previously called for the House of Commons to reconvene immediately to address the situation, was very happy with the news. “Glad to hear,” he wrote in a tweet. “Let’s get those rail cars with propane moving again & let our farmers finish the harvest.”

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