For immediate release

April 15, 2018

Union calls for good faith bargaining
IBEW disputes claims made by Canadian Pacific Railway

On April 13 Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) issued a press release which does little more than misrepresent the company’s attitude during bargaining and their priority of labour outreach. The IBEW related numerical data provided in the press release is either unproven or not factual. CP’s media spin is just the latest example of how they have directed their efforts in what should be good faith bargaining with System Council No. 11 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

The IBEW entered into negotiations on September 13 2017 with CP and although the union has made multiple revisions to our proposal, the company currently stands firm on their original demands, which are significantly more than they reported.

“It is fair to say there is a significant gap between the parties and it is questionable to suggest that CP continues to engage in good faith bargaining,” says Steve Martin, Senior General Chairman of IBEW System Council No. 11. “In a true best effort to negotiate a fair and reasonable Memorandum of Settlement, the IBEW has maintained a willingness to continue bargaining without the intent of a work stoppage,” Martin says.

CP initiated the conciliation process and has refused to extend the prescribed time limits. This refusal forced the Union to hold a strike mandate vote for the 366 IBEW represented Signals and Communications (S&C) employees. On April 12 the members voted 98.3% to authorize the union to take strike action if necessary. The earliest job action can be initiated is 00:01 April 21.

The IBEW and CP have always negotiated collective agreements without a work stoppage. This is only achievable when both parties mutually agree to dedicate the unrestricted time necessary to reach] a common goal.

This is not the case this time. CP has continually attempted to defer bargaining to binding arbitration. By refusing to extend conciliation and minimizing their availability to meet, CP has forced what seems to be an inevitable work stoppage while openly seeking government intervention with an end potential of arbitration.

Considering the company’s actions affecting the IBEW members in the Signals and Communications department over the last three years and the lack of progress during the seven months of bargaining the union can only ponder what is meant by the company’s statement that labour outreach is a top priority.

At the commencement of bargaining in September of last year the parties briefly discussed the maintenance of actives in the event of a work stoppage. Even though the company did preliminarily object to the union’s assertion that no members would remain at work if there was a strike or lockout, they would not discuss further and did not formally file a dispute with the Canadian Industrial Relations Board.

Although the company made a request on Friday, the response was acknowledged as expected. With the subsequent same day news release, it is clear the request was initiated for the purpose of the news release and public opinion and not in the interest of building labour relations or good faith bargaining.

Even with the limited time remaining the IBEW remains committed to bargaining a fair, good faith agreement.

For more information
Steve Martin
Senior General Chairman
IBEW System Council No. 11
Office 519-622-2323
Mobile 519-240-3328