CALGARY, ALBERTA, US — Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) have agreed to enter binding arbitration over a labor dispute, allowing for operations to resume March 22, The Associated Press reported.
The company had halted operations and locked out its workers on March 20, sparking calls for a quick negotiated end to the work stoppage over fears that it could aggravate a shortage of commodities caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and exacerbate supply chain bottlenecks in the United States and Canada stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canadian Pacific said it would immediately begin work with customers to resume normal operations across the country. Normal operations will continue at CP during the arbitration period, said Seamus O'Regan Jr., Minister of Labour for Canada, who mediated the talks.
The TCRC represents about 3,000 locomotive engineers, conductors, train and yard workers. Negotiations had been ongoing since September and recently included federal mediators. The union reiterated March 22 that demands on wages and pensions remain stumbling blocks.
Industry groups in both Canada and the United States noted concern about the work stoppage. Canada depends heavily on railroads to move grain and other commodities and goods, including 75% of all fertilizer.
The Canadian Pacific Railway, Canada’s second largest railroad, transported 428,568 carloads of grain and 151,789 carloads of potash (fertilizer) in 2021, according to railroad data. There are about 175 US grain elevators served by the CP.