CP Rail will reinstate local rules

Company confirms that it will abide by an order made by the Canada Industrial Relations Board

Canadian Pacific Railway will reinstate local rules for running trade employees after a Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) decision last week.

On Tuesday, March 26, CP Rail issued a notice to the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference that local agreements will be phased back in, with most being in place by Monday, April 1.

“The Company recognizes the decision from the CIRB respecting the cancellation of local rules issued in March 22, 2013,” wrote Dave Freeborn, director of labour relations, in the letter. “Accordingly, the Company is currently making arrangements to reinstate the local rules at the various terminals.”

This means conditions for running trade employees in Cranbrook and Fort Steele will return to the way they were before September 2012, when CPR first gave notice that it was cancelling local agreements.

Since then, according to Teamsters, staff members such as locomotive engineers, conductors, trainmen and yardmen have “arbitrarily had their earnings potential reduced, in some cases by a third or more. The majority are spending at least twice as long away from home to earn less money,” Teamsters General Chairman, LE West, Dave Able said on Monday.

CP Rail said in a March CIRB hearing that it was cancelling local agreements to replace them with standardized calling rules, which they said would in essence modify local rules instead of cancelling them.

But the CIRB found CP Rail had violated the Canada Labour Code, issued a cease and desist order in December, and filed it with the federal court on March 22. CP Rail will now abide by that order.

“I am cautiously optimistic that the company will adhere to the decision,” said Able on Wednesday. “Hopefully we can put this all behind us and move forward for both parties. The local rules also help the customers.”