CN Rail workers ratify collective agreement that focuses on employee fatigue

Locomotives sit idle in the railyard as Canadian National Railway workers begin a nationwide strike, Tuesday, November 19, 2019 in Montreal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

Teamsters Canada says rail workers have approved a three-year collective agreement with Canadian National Railway Co.

Conductors and yard workers voted 91 per cent to ratify the deal, which covers roughly 3,200 employees represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference.

The new contract follows an agreement in principle reached in late November, which ended an eight-day strike that brought the railway to a near halt.

The union says the agreement improves on safety and worker exhaustion, but Teamsters Canada president Francois Laporte says the "core problem of fatigue in the rail industry can only be resolved through government regulations."

CN chief executive JJ Ruest says he is "pleased to have completed" the agreement, which boosts wages and benefits and is retroactive to July 23, 2019.

CN says the Canadian economy was "severely" impacted by the strike, which stopped shipments, triggered layoffs and disrupted industries across the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2020.