Canadian Nat'l engineer union threatens strike

AP News
Posted: Nov 25, 2009 2:10 PM

Canadian National Railway Co., one of North America's largest railroads, says it received notice from the union representing its locomotive engineers in Canada that they plan to go on strike Saturday.

The company and the union had been bargaining for about 14 months, but talks ended Friday without a settlement. The previous labor agreement expired last year.

Company spokesman Mark Hallman said the company is urging the union to restart talks and avoid a potential work stoppage.

"We are very focused on trying to achieve a settlement," he said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We're saying 'let's start the talks again, and avoid the damaging effects of a strike.'"

The union said in a statement earlier this week that they wish to continue negotiations, but that the company has declined.

A union spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

A potential strike could disrupt a number of sectors, including the U.S. auto industry, which relies on railroads to deliver vehicles and parts. Canadian National also is a major carrier of retail imports, lumber, chemicals and coal.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference represents about 1,700 locomotive engineers at Canadian National, based in Montreal.