BLE Rail Traffic Controllers end strike at CP Rail

BLE-Rail Canada Traffic Controllers ratified a contract on August 5 with Canadian Pacific Railway, ending a seven week strike.

The contract was ratified by a 75 percent majority and more than 200 RCTC members returned to work on August 9.

"Ratification gets our members back to work and we are happy about that," said BLE Special Representative Darrell Arnold. "While many of our targeted improvements have been met, the strike has taken its toll on the union/management relationship. The company has made a solid commitment to address several of the outstanding issues and they have assured us that work will get underway immediately."

The agreement, which extends to December 31, 2005, provides for wage, pension and benefit improvements. RCTC members will see the collapse of their rate levels into two for RTC and additional yearly wage increases over the next three years.

The company has realized work rule flexibility will help to improve rail traffic control.

"Our members did not strike for the sake of striking Canadian Pacific Railway," BLE-RCTC General Chairman Jim Ruddick said. "This was a strike based on principles and respect. Some of the issues our members walked the picket line for could have had an effect on all railway unions.

"When our members on CP Rail start returning to work on Saturday, August 9, they can hold their heads high for their solidarity, convictions and commitment towards a just cause. Our negotiating committee is pleased to see our members returning to work and welcomes the commitment made by both the company and the union to jointly work towards a better work environment for all."

BLE International President Don Hahs also praised the RCTC members.

"Congratulations to these brothers and sisters for their hard-fought battle for a decent contract," President Hahs said. "They had the courage to stand up for their convictions and sacrificed for the betterment of themselves, their families and all railway workers in Canada. "I would like to extend my thanks to all the brothers and sisters from other unions who supported us in this struggle."

The strike began on June 18, after a cooling-off period mandated by Canadian labor laws. RCTC members have been without a contract since January 1, 2003.

During the strike, the company used managers and other employees to fill-in for the striking workers, which may have compromised the safety of rail operations. However, the Rail Canada Traffic Controllers' return to work on August 9 will allow safe operations to resume.



© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers