I hate to say this but Canada’s railways sure don’t sound like good places to work. A friend of mine used to work for CN and the stories he told me made me just shake my head. Now we had CP Rail’s 3,000 plus train operators go on strike Tuesday night. This is the 3rd such scenario in six years so no matter how you look at it, something’s not right in our railways’ relationships between unions and management. Is it ingrained in their collective psyches that contract talks are always going to be confrontational, a classic case of us versus them? Are the railway’s offers that unfair or are the unions asking for too much? We don’t know because we never get the full details. We are only told that there is a problem with both sides blaming the other for the impasse. The Teamsters union says CP’s actions have forced them to vote for strike action 3 times in the past six years and it’s up to CP to show they respect workers by changing their confrontational relationship with their employees. CP Rail says their final offers provided for significant improvements to wages, benefits and working conditions that are consistent with agreements recently reached with other CP unions. SO, who do you want to believe? As for me, I always believe there are three sides to every story, the third side being the truth somewhere in the middle. The trouble, as I said, is that we don’t have all the facts so both the railway and the union should stop wasting our time with all their blah, blah, blah in the media and just lock themselves behind closed doors until they settle things…for now, until the cycle repeats itself in a couple of years.
That’s Coffeetalk. I’m Vic Dubois.