Since the last newsletter, the TCRC has suffered two tragic accidents. It is with heavy heart that I express our deepest condolences for the loss of two Brothers in British Columbia, one in Thornton yard and the other at Ridley Island. Further information is contained within the newsletter. I trust that all of you have taken the necessary precautions and continue with the Health Canada recommendations to keep yourselves, your families and your communities safe and healthy during this pandemic. The TCRC has worked together at all levels to protect our membership during this time, greatly minimizing the spread and impact of the pandemic.
The last few months have proven to be very challenging for the membership as well as your Union Officers at all levels of our organization. We are working together as a collective to try and mitigate the ramifications of the blockades and now the COVID-19 pandemic on our membership. As we anticipate the dangers of this virus escalating, we have tried to ensure that the health and safety of our members is protected and to reduce the economic impact as much as possible. I ask that each and every one of you take the necessary precautions to protect yourselves, your family, co-workers and communities during this time.
It’s been a very interesting past few months. This letter contains the latest updates on the work/rest rules, information on the Canada Labour Code changes as well as reports and information from around the TCRC.
The Federal election was held in October resulting in a Liberal Minority Government. As a result of extensive lobbying efforts in conjunction with Teamsters Canada the government was convinced to let the bargaining process for the CN CTY play out. The Liberal’s resistance to convene parliament and enact back to work legislation was extremely helpful to our negotiating team, who’s hard work resulted in a tentative agreement. The support and solidarity within the TCRC was integral throughout this strike and I want to thank all the members for their strength and commitment to Our Union. Our Sisters and Brothers in the USW, Unifor, BLET and many other Unions from across North America sent messages of encouragement and solidarity during the strike, it was truly inspiring. Never in my career have I ever witnessed the degree of public support we experienced, it seems our voice was heard throughout Canada and beyond.
As the upcoming Federal election quickly approaches, our current government is scrambling to show the labour sector that the Liberals are working diligently on our behalf. Many of you may question why Minister Garneau has ordered the railways to resubmit their update to the work/rest rules as opposed to Transport Canada moving ahead and creating the mandated update internally (see article below). Coincidentally, ESDC (Labour Canada) is currently working on updating Part 3 of the Canada Labour Code which may also affect our members (see article below). Ideally, we would have liked to finish dealing with the work/rest rules and subsequently deal with the Part 3 updates after.
On January 11th, 2019 the membership chose to elect me, Lyndon Isaak, as their National President, Brother Dave McCulloch as the Vice-President and Brother Christopher Friesen as the Secretary-Treasurer of the TCRC. It is a humbling experience when you consider the enormous responsibility and expectations that come with these positions but we pledge to do our best to make the changes necessary to our Union in order to rebuild the faith and interest of the membership.