Canadian Rail Workers at CPKC and CN Vote to Strike


Teamsters Canada (TCRC) have voted overwhelmingly in favor of strikes against Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) and Canadian National (CN).  The union, representing 9,300 train and engine crews at CN and CPKC, voted 97.6% in favor of a strike in an effort to push the two rail giants to include provisions to combat crew fatigue.

The strike could occur as early as May 22 unless a fair deal is reached.

“We are at an impasse,” said TCRC president Paul Boucher.  “After six months of negotiations with both companies, we are no closer to reaching a settlement than when we first began.  Both companies are trying to strip our collective agreements of safety-critical rest provisions” while cutting pay for half our members.  CPKC refuted the claim, saying the company’s ‘modernized’ proposal for rest  does not compromise safety and fully complies with new Canadian regulatory requirements for rest.

Why it Matters

The strike would deal yet another blow to North American supply chains still recovering from disruptions caused by the pandemic, the Red Sea crisis, and the drought in Panama.  Not only would a work stoppage halt freight traffic across Canada, but would also significantly disrupt trade flows between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

A prolonged strike could lead to increased congestion at rail ramps across the continent, creating significant logistics challenges, delays, and equipment shortages across the rail freight network.

Reverberations would likely  extend to the maritime sector, disrupting shipping operations across the West Coast like we saw last summer when the dockworkers in British Columbia went on strike for nearly two weeks.

Multiple Strike Threats Loom over Supply Chain

Meanwhile, 9,000 border officers at Canada Border Services Agency are holding a strike vote through May 15 after labor negotiations reached an impasse last September over pay, job security, protections from subcontracting, and a ‘toxic workplace culture.’  While the agency is expected to maintain essential services in the event of a walkout, cross-border traffic flows are likely be brought to a standstill.

On top of that, tense talks between the Port of Montreal and the union representing 1,200 dockworkers have raised fears of yet another possible strike this summer.


OCEANAIR will continue to closely monitor the situation and will provide further updates as they become available.

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