COMPETITION WATCH: CN prepares for potential UTU strike

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MONTREAL, Que. The Canadian National Railway is activating its strike contingency plan to maintain national freight operations after the United Transportation Union (UTU) announced that it plans to strike CNS Canadian rail operations on February 10.

The UTU represents approximately 2,800 CN conductors and yard-service employees in Canada. A written statement issued by the company noted that it is in negotiations with the union, and the two parties may still reach a new collective agreement before the strike deadline.

But let me be clear we will continue freight operations across Canada during a UTU strike, with management personnel performing UTU-represented jobs, and provide the best possible service, said CN president and CEO E. Hunter Harrison in a press release. The plan is essential to our customers and the Canadian economy.

A UTU strike will not affect other unionized employees in Canada. UTU members employed on CNs Northern Quebec Internal Short Line, Algoma Central Railway in Ontario and Mackenzie Northern Railway in Alberta are also excluded from the strike action.

CN and UTU have agreed to maintain normal commuter rail operations on CN rail lines in Toronto and Montreal during a conductors strike.

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