January 23, 2018 - Your TCRC Negotiating Committee met with CP in the presence of Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services for 5 days from January 15 to 19, 2018 in Western Canada. So far, we have now met with the Company on four occasions. The process so far has been at a slow pace.
As you are all aware, on January 2, 2018 on short notice, the Company called members, that were on AV and scheduled to return on January 4, notifying them that their AV was in fact over and they would be automatically be booked on at 2200 that evening. The members were further informed that the Company was not recognizing the last two days of AV due to the Statutory Holidays. We attempted to correct this violation with Labour Relations but were unsuccessful.
During this past week, rather than resolve the AV issue the Company provided the Union with a letter essentially arguing that the issue was a matter of estoppel and they would be ending the practice. The Company is taking the position that they can assign employees their extra vacation days at a time, unilaterally determined, that may or may not be in connection with scheduled vacation. The Company’s new interpretation is not only a violation of the Collective Agreements but the Canada Labour Code as well. We have attached the Company’s letter and will provide our response once it is provided to the Company. We will continue to examine our options in order to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
On Friday, the Union was advised by the Company’s chief negotiator AVP Labour Relations Mr. Becker that the issues that were previously addressed, agreed upon and “fixed” in September by President and CEO Keith Creel were now contingent on an “over all deal”. In other words, if we cannot come to a negotiated settlement, the items recently put in place are off the table. The Union today initiated a conference call with Mr. Creel and discussed this apparent reversal on the issue. In our discussion Mr. Creel clarified and confirmed our mutual understanding that the items that were not subject for ratification, and were put into place would remain in place regardless of negotiations. Mr. Creel was true to the commitment he made in September that we mentioned in our meetings on the property.
On, January 22, 2018 the Union served notice of dispute to the Minister of Labour in accordance with the Canada Labour Code. The process of conciliation normally lasts 60-days from the date the conciliation officer is appointed, however there is the ability to extend the 60-days should both parties mutually agree. Following the completion of the conciliation period, there is a 21- day cooling off period that effectively takes the parties to the point where a legal strike or lockout can take place. Prior to any strike action we are required to poll the membership and will inform you when that may occur.
We have discussed next sessions and have agreed to meet the week of February 12th, 2018 in Eastern Canada.
Our commitment to the membership is to negotiate new Collective Agreements based upon the demands we have put forward. We will immediately keep you apprised of any further developments.
Thank you for your attention to this matter, we remain,
Greg Edwards - LE West General Chairman
John Campbell - LE East General Chairman
Dave Fulton - CTY West General Chairman
Wayne Apsey - CTY East General Chairman
CC: Doug Finnson President TCRC