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CP Rail union will call for talks to resume if contract rejected Friday

Last Updated May 22, 2018 at 6:40 pm EDT

A Canadian Pacific Railway employee walks along the side of a locomotive in a marshalling yard in Calgary, Wednesday, May 16, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

MONTREAL – The union representing Canadian Pacific Railway train operators says it will immediately ask for negotiations to resume once the company’s three-year contract offer is rejected by members Friday afternoon.

Teamsters Canada spokesman Christopher Monette says results are expected to be known soon after voting closes Friday at noon.

Voting was extended by two days due to a glitch in union members getting pin numbers to vote.

Monette says the union expects CP’s offer will be soundly rejected since the negotiating committee recommended that action.

Federal Employment Minister Patty Hajdu last month ordered that the company’s offer be presented directly to union members in a vote administered by the Canadian Industrial Relations Board.

The move ended mediated talks between the railway and two unions: the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents signal workers.

Monette says the union armed with a rejection from its members will try to negotiate a deal without resorting to a strike, but would give 72 hours notice if they proceed with a strike.

“We want to give CP every reasonable opportunity to address some of the issues that we have been raising,” he says in an interview.

He says avoiding a work stoppage will depend on if the company would then start negotiating seriously.

The Calgary-based railway has offered two per cent annual wage increases and $1,000 to each member to drop a series of filed grievances.

The union rejects the financial offer and is unhappy that fatigue of its members wasn’t addressed by the company.

The Teamsters, which represents 3,000 CP locomotive engineers and conductors, has gone on strike twice since 2012.

CP Rail spokesman Jeremy Berry says the company encourages the unionized employees to understand the issues “so they can make the best decision for themselves and their families and to cast a ballot in the confidential, electronic vote.”

Steve Martin, senior general chairman of the IBEW, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CP)