Harassment claims must be settled before strike ends: CAW

MONTREAL, (Feb. 27, 2004) — The union representing 5,000 striking CN Rail technicians, clerical staff, and intermodal yard workers told the railway it cannot reach a settlement until a series of worker complaints over working conditions have been addressed.

Canadian Auto Workers union spokesman Abe Rosner told the Canadian Press news agency that the union cannot bring back a recommendation to its membership if the company didn’t first resolve accusations of deteriorating working conditions and “harassment” of workers who report safety violations.

The union — which rekindled labour negotiations with the company yesterday — said it didn’t realize the extent of the complaints until recently.

Meanwhile, despite admitting to some delays, CN says trains continue to operate across the country by using management personnel in place of the striking workers. Some CN locomotive engineers in Winnipeg threatened to walk off the job over the contingency plan — saying that managers at the terminal are not doing a proper job and are putting engineers at risk.

Today’s Trucking reported earlier this week that some manufacturers and shippers that use rail have been making arrangements to shift freight — everything from auto parts, grain, to general goods — from rail to truck until at least the strike is over.

— with files from Canadian Press

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