Teamsters Canada Rail Conference member Jeff Janzen (centre) stands on a picket line with other local members outside the Kamloops CN Rail facilities on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
More than 3,000 Canadian National Railway train operators struck just past midnight on Tuesday morning, shutting down the nation’s largest rail network.
The union and CN have failed to reach a deal on a new contract following several months of mediated talks. The union has stated remote-control train operations, drug benefits and time off are at issue.
Wages are not believed to be part of the disagreement.
The strike is affecting CN’s freight operations across the country. Conductors, trainpersons and yard workers took to the picket lines after CN confirmed last week it was cutting jobs as it deals with a weakening North American economy that has eroded demand.
The federal government has urged Canadian National Railway Co. and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference to continue negotiating as roughly 3,200 conductors, trainpersons and yard workers went on strike.
Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said the government is concerned about the impact of a work stoppage on Canadians, but remains hopeful the two sides will reach an agreement.