Late in the evening of March 26, CP Rail delivered a letter to
the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) General Chairmen
representing Locomotive Engineers, Conductors, Trainmen and Yardmen,
recognizing the unanimous decision of the Canada Industrial
Relations Board (CIRB) dated March 22, following a hearing in Ottawa
on March 18 before the Board Panel.
In September 2012, Canadian Pacific, who is now being controlled by
former CN CEO Hunter Harrison, initiated the cancellation of
negotiated Local Agreements across the country, and began to
implement their own terms and conditions. The TCRC General Chairmen
filed a complaint with the CIRB and on October 19, 2012 the Board
issued an interim cease and desist order to the employer. On
December 19, 2012 the CIRB issued their decision on the Union
complaint and found Canadian Pacific had violated Section 94(1)(a)
of the Canada Labour Code, and among other things they ordered
Canadian Pacific to indefinitely cease and desist from implementing
wholesale cancellation of Local Rules.
Canadian Pacific immediately began their cancellation notices again,
and would not cease or desist from this activity causing the Union
to return to the CIRB who scheduled another hearing with the
parties. Within the March 22 CIRB Decision, the Board Panel clearly
understood the concerted actions of Canadian Pacific and stated:
“the Board has no difficulty in finding that the employer has failed
to comply with Order no. 699-NB, and that given the employer’s past
conduct, there is every likelihood that it will continue to fail to
comply with the order in the future.”
Within its decision the Board noted there is an expectation that its
orders are to be obeyed. The Board indicated it is rarely called
upon to file its Orders with the Court, as the filing of a Board
Order in court is a measure of last resort and the Board will not
lightly subject parties to these measures unless it is clear there
is no other enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance with the
order and the objectives of the Code.
However, at the request of the TCRC General Chairmen the Board
immediately filed its Order with the Federal Court of Canada where
enforcement of that Order can now be made. The Order, unprecedented
in the Railway industry, now has the same force and effect as a
judgement obtained in the Federal Court and can be enforced as if
the Order were a judgement of that Court.
Canadian Pacific has admitted to the TCRC General Chairmen they are
now reinstating the local rules at the various terminals.
The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference General Chairmen at Canadian
Pacific, assisted by their network of Local Chairmen throughout the
country, will continue to insure the employer remains compliant with
the Orders of the CIRB, and will take the necessary remedial action
should the employer violate the law.