Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.’s 3,000 train conductors and engineers have ratified a four-year collective agreement, signalling a period of labour peace at a carrier known for fractious relations with its unionized work force.
Locomotive crews in Teamsters Canada Rail Conference voted 65 per cent in favour of the contract, which provides expanded rest periods and a 9-per-cent raise over the life of the contract.
The agreement was reached with the intervention of federal mediators, and followed a brief strike in May by Teamsters as well as 360 signal workers in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Doug Finnson, TCRC president, called the contract a “fair deal.”
"Moving forward, we hope to continue working with the company to improve job conditions and ease labour relations,” Mr. Finnson said in a statement.
Keith Creel, Calgary-based CP’s chief executive officer, has said he seeks improved relations with the company’s largely unionized work force, which has been bruised by years of layoffs, cost reductions and strict discipline brought in by his predecessor, Hunter Harrison.
CP’s Teamsters train crews have gone on strike three times since 2012. In the fall, CP’s offer of a one-year contract failed a ratification vote, which led to new talks and the strike that preceded the new deal.
CP blamed the recent strike for service disruptions that dampened sales growth and drove up expenses in the second quarter, contributing to a 7-per-cent decline in profit even as revenue rose by 7 per cent.
“Achieving a four-year agreement provides certainty and stability for not only employees at CP, but for customers, shareholders, and the broader economy," Mr. Creel said in a news release.
On a conference call to discuss the financial results on Wednesday, Mr. Creel said the labour deals CP has reached with a handful of its unions since 2017 provide “labour stability” without damaging the company’s ability to boost profits or service for customers. CP has recently reached deals with its unionized police, office staff and track workers.
“I truly believe it's a win-win,” he said, before the Teamsters ratification results were released. “It's a new day for the company it's a new opportunity for the company as we grow together and I'm very, very excited about it.”
The IBEW signal workers ratified their new deal in June by 78 per cent.