May 2, 2018 - Dear Sisters and Brothers: This is further to our letter of April 26, 2018 regarding the Company’s proposal and letter from Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Keith Creel.
The Canadian Industrial Relations Board has been engaged with the parties finalizing the process. On Friday April 27, 2018 there was a conference call with the parties to discuss:
This afternoon we received notification that the electronic vote on the Company’s offer will begin on May 14, 2018 and will run until noon (Eastern Daylight Time) on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. At that point the CIRB will announce the decision of the membership. Our legal counsel will participate as a scrutineer and will advise and address any concerns with the process.
As we indicated our legal counsel wrote to CP’s counsel to assert our rights and outlining the issues with the Company’s offer including, but not limited to, the inclusion of the Consolidated Collective Agreement, the proposal related to Turnaround Junction payments, the grievance resolve letter and the Kootenay Valley Railway Collective Agreement.
On Sunday afternoon April 29, our legal counsel received a response to our concerns. The Company proposed to resolve these issues prior to having the final offer sent out to our membership. The Company prepared an amendment to be sent out with the final offer package to clarify the issues raised in our letter. To be certain, the Company’s new amendment was not to provide clarity but to reduce their exposure to a legal challenge of their final offer. It is not within the Company’s authority to amend the offer; only the Minister can do that.
In another twist, the Company, about 90 minutes later, sent another change to their first amendment of their final offer purporting to correct an earlier error. This change appears to be related to the Turnaround Junction payment. In the first change the Company attempted to clarify that TJ language found in the other Collective Agreements (only exists in CTY West) would be added to the LE West. In the second amendment, the Company clarified that what it really meant was that the LE West language would be added to the other 3 Collective Agreements. Regardless of the fact the Company doesn’t have the ability to change their final offer, the situation is impossible to track and determine their actual proposal.
Each of the Company’s amendments contained a limited time offer by the Company. The Company requested that we let them know by noon (EDT) on Monday, April 30, 2018 if we were interested in resolving the issues and effectively amending their final offer.
Our legal counsel responded to the Company’s letter of April 29, 2018 reiterating that the Union had only identified the most egregious provisions of the Company’s final offer and that there were other objectionable provisions. Further and most importantly, the Union is neither prepared to nor authorized to negotiate the terms of the Company’s last offer. The Minister stated that “it is in the public interest that all the employees in the affected bargaining unit be given the opportunity to accept or reject the last offer received by the trade union on April 20, 2018” and directed a vote on that last offer. The Minister has not given the parties – nor anyone - the ability to renegotiate that offer or to allow employees to vote on something different than the last offer.
In accordance with the direction of the Minister the vote will be conducted on the Company’s final offer without alteration.
While these recent events may seem bizarre, the reality of the situation is this is nothing new. The Labour Relations department seems to be at odds with everyone in their path including Mr. Creel. It was quite apparent that what was occurring at the bargaining table was not being relayed to him.
In the likely event the Company’s offer is rejected, we remain committed to achieving a settlement that is equitable and acceptable to our membership. We will continue to push for provisions to address fatigue management and lifestyle issues, in line with the membership’s priorities and the science surrounding the matter.
We encourage all members to take an active role in determining the outcome on this offer. Contrary to Mr. Creel’s letter, there are concessions in the Company’s offer that affect all employees.
Again, your Bargaining Committee recommends that you REJECT the Company offer, as we believe we can achieve a more equitable settlement with the employer that addresses the Membership’s original contract demands including fatigue issues. We believe once you have thoroughly reviewed the document, you will agree with our assessments.
Your Bargaining Committee thanks you for your patience through this long process.
General Chairman - CTY West
General Chairman - LE West
General Chairman - CTY East
General Chairman - LE East
Mr. Doug Finnson, President TCRC
Mr. Rolly Hackl, Vice President TCRC