Potential CP Strike Will Affect Milton & GO Transit

This will be an updated blog post as more information comes forward on this issue.

As you might have heard, CP might be going on strike midnight tonight which will cause some disruptions to transit riders who use the GO Train.  Here is what we have received so far from Milton Transit.

Milton Council,

GO Transit staff have recently notified Town Staff of a potential strike situation that would impact GO Transit’s Milton Rail corridor service. Effective 12:01 am on Wednesday, May 23, 2012, the Teamsters Union representing Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) train crew and rail traffic controllers will be in a legal strike position. GO Transit’s Milton Corridor is owned by CPR and will be directly impacted by any strike action. CPR and Teamsters will pursue a negotiated settlement right up until midnight, Tuesday May 22, 2012.

In the event of a CPR train crew and rail traffic controller strike, there will be no GO Transit Milton Corridor Train service effective midnight, Tuesday May 22, 2012. All current passengers will be encouraged to find alternative transportation methods starting Wednesday, May 23, 2012. All other GO rail corridor and bus services will continue to operate based on their public timetables.

Town Staff will be working with GO Transit officials on providing updates to customers. In the meantime, we will continue to support all GO Transit Bus services as per Milton Transit schedules, where possible.

I will provide further updates as they become available.

Thank you,

Tony D’Alessandro, M.E.Des, MCIP, RPP

As more information comes in I will post as soon as possible.

Here is the lastest from the National Post & Scott Deveau 

scdeveau@nationalpost.com

Commuters in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal could face disruptions Wednesday morning with a potential strike looming at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, which represents roughly 4,800 CP engineers, conductors, yardmen and rail traffic controllers, served strike 72-hour strike notice over the weekend warning its members were prepared to walk off the job as early as 12:01 a.m. Wednesday morning if a new labour agreement could not be reached by then.

Both sides in the dispute continue to meet, but were also called to Ottawa Tuesday morning for a meeting federal labour minister Lisa Raitt to discuss what would happen in the event of a strike.

“Our government is concerned that a work stoppage would have a negative effect on Canadian businesses, families, and the economy,” Ms. Raitt said in a statement. “That’s why I have invited both parties to attend a working summit in hopes that we can avoid any disruption of services.”

If a labour disruption were to occur, it would not only halt CP’s freight rail service in Canada, but also potentially disrupt the morning commute of thousands of VIA Rail, GO Transit, West Coast Express, and AMT passengers on routes that pass over CP’s lines.

Contingency plans are being put in place, but customers are being encouraged to check the website of the various rail companies for updates.

VIA Rail said it expects service between Toronto and Ottawa, Toronto-Kitchener-London, and Sudbury to White River to be impacted by the strike because its trains on those routes pass over CP lines.

Malcolm Andrews, VIA Rail spokesman, said it was still being determined what mitigating measures would be put in place and to what extent its operations would be affected.

“We will be putting updates on our website,” he said. “Should this all come to pass, we’ll keep that updated as the situation evolves.”

GO Transit said it expects there will be no rail service in its Milton corridor and that its service originating from Hamilton station to be impacted outside of Toronto in the event of a strike.

All GO bus service will continue to operate out of Milton, however, and all four trains originating in Hamilton will depart from its Aldershot station instead with bus service between those stations.

Meanwhile, West Coast Express said it was working with CP and its partners at Translink on contingency plans for the Vancouver area in the event of strike.

“These contingency plans include a number of options: expanded Train Bus services; bus shuttles to SkyTrain Stations; and, encouraging West Coast Express passengers to ride share or telecommute when possible. In the event of any job action, we will act on these plans when possible and provide updates for customers as soon as they come available,” it said on its website.

AMT said its service from Blainville to Saint-Jerome, Candiac and Vaudreuil to Hudson would be impacted in the event of a strike and that it continues to monitor the situation.

CP’s talks with the TCRC has been held up on numerous issues including work rules, fatigue management, and changes to the pension plan proposed by CP’s management, which the TCRC claims will be cut by 40%.

The TCRC sent a letter to CP’s management over the weekend committing to keeping commuter rail service running in the event of a strike in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

But it is likely that management would lock out the TCRC workers in the event of a strike.

Ed Greenberg, CP spokesman, said the railway wouldn’t have the resources to staff the commuter or inter-city passenger rail lines in the event of a labour disruption.

 

Chris Wattie/Reuters files

“I continue to encourage the Canadian Pacific Railway and the TCRC to either reach a deal or agree to submit to a binding process to settle their dispute and avoid a work stoppage,” federal labour minister Lisa Raitt said in a statement over the weekend.

“Should there be a work stoppage, we have indicated that we would be proceeding with a safe and structured shutdown of our freight and commuter train operations,” he said. “Without the resources in place, it is simply not possible to run reliable and safe commuter service. We would hope if the union is interested in running commuter rail and inter-city passenger rail that they would agree to an extension to the negotiation talks or reach an agreement to the company.”

He said the railway would also be willing to enter into binding arbitration with the union in order to ensure rail service continued.

Ms. Raitt said she is monitoring the situation closely and encouraged both sides in the dispute to continue to negotiate.

“Today, I will remind the parties that the best solution is the one they reach themselves,” Ms. Raitt said. “I encourage both parties to continue negotiating and reach a prompt resolution to this dispute.”

Some of the railway’s customers are already calling for back-to-work legislation in the event of a strike.

Ms. Raitt has demonstrated a propensity to intervene to prevent labour disruptions in the past, including the tabling of numerous back-to-work bills to prevent work stoppages at Air Canada and Canada Post.

The threat of a strike at CP comes less than a week after its chief executive Fred Green resigned under pressure from activist investor Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management L.P., which has been pushing to see him replaced with Hunter Harrison, the former head of rival Canadian National Railway Co.

Stephen Tobias, an industry veteran and former chief operating officer at Norfolk Southern, has been named interim CEO of CP while the search for a successor is conducted.

One Reply to “Potential CP Strike Will Affect Milton & GO Transit”

  1. Looks like deal was reached with CP and GO to keep the trains rolling. So far so good. Keep an eye out for any changes but it looks great for GO commuters.

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