CPR Strike Update: Court tells western pickets to move out of the way

VANCOUVER — Striking CP Rail employees picketing at intermodal yards in Calgary and Vancouver have been ordered by the courts not to hold up trucks trying to unload or pick up containers.

The Calgary injunction, while recognizing the right of protestors to demonstrate, limits trucker interference. Workers, who were causing massive traffic delays by holding up individual trucks for five to 30 minutes, can now only stand for a limited time in front of trucks entering the facilities.

In Vancouver, where the intermodal facility is vital to coastal port shipping operations, the injunction denies all obstructive action, according to Canadian Press.

CP says it doesn’t have any train disruptions yet,
but some shippers are wondering for how long?

The railway already received similar court-imposed injunctions this week for its Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vaughan, Ont. facilities. Lawyers for the company are reportedly before a judge today, seeking an injunction against blockades at its Etobicoke, Ont. intermodal yard.

CPR said the obstruction was creating safety concerns in and outside the terminals, and that train schedules are still not affected.

But the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, representing the 3,200 employees who walked off the job nearly two weeks ago, says the labor action was starting to make a dent in operations.

“CP Rail is hurting. They may say otherwise but we can see it everyday. Slow orders are up and train schedules are down,” TCRC President Bill Brehl wrote to union members in a communiqué.

In recent statements to the media, CP’s spokesman continues to call the disruption “an irritant and inconvenience” for trucking companies.

While delays have somewhat tempered at the Vaughn, Ont. terminal north of Toronto, one container hauler tells TodaysTrucking.com that trucks are still being detained up to four additional hours, in and out of the Etobicoke yard.

A sample of the carrier’s delivery log this week shows several trucks being held up anywhere from one to three and a half hours. More than one truck turned back without unloading after waiting more than two hours.

The log clearly shows that wait times are more severe in the afternoon than in the morning.

Now entering its second week, the strike doesn’t appear to be close to ending. No new talks are scheduled between the company and the union, which is demanding a 13 percent wage increase over three years. CP says it isn’t budging from its offer of 10 percent, which is consistent with similar collective agreements with other unions.

CP has been forced to dispatch 1,200 mangers to maintain and repair tracks and bridges.

But so far there are no reports of problems involving track infrastructure.

— with files from Canadian Press

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