Roughly 3,200 Canadian National Railway workers, including conductors, yard workers, and trainpersons could go on strike just after midnight Wednesday, in an aggressive move that hopes to aid in finalizing a deal with the company.
Passenger rail services across Canada’s three largest cities would not be affected, though the job action that would affect freight services across the rest of the nation, according to the union.
Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference, which represents CN’s employees, submitted the required 72-hour strike notice over the weekend.
The union went on to say they hope to reach an agreement before the deadline, in order to address “safety and scheduling issues,” though workers are prepared to start the strike if expectations aren’t met.
“Our problem is not with the people in general, but with CN,” union spokesman Christopher Monette told CTV on Monday.
The three largest cities, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, would remain unaffected, as would their rail services—Go Transit, Exo, and West Coast Express, respecively.
CN went on to say negotiations were still under way, and “has been offering binding arbitration to ensure train services aren’t disrupted,” reports CTV.
“We are disappointed that the [union] has initiated strike action, which will result in a significant disruption to service,” said CN’s vice-president of financial planning Janet Drysdale to The Globe. “We apologize to our customers and appreciate their understanding that safety is always our first priority.”?
CN and the same group of CN employees were able to reach an agreement in the union’s previous strike negotiation back in 2015.
Workers for CN say they’re asking for more regulation around their long working hours, dangerous working conditions, as well as a fight against a lifetime cap on prescription drug coverage.
The dispute was partially sparked by CN’s announcement Friday that they would be laying off roughly 1,600 management and union positions, as the company faces future declining freight volumes and global trade tensions.