Workers returned to work at noon after CP Rail and the union agreed to final arbitration

Employees of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. are back to work, but a labor relations expert says it could take weeks before issues are settled between the country’s second-largest railroad and the union representing 3,000 conductors, engineers, railway workers and yard workers.

CP Rail and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference announced early Tuesday that they have agreed to final and binding arbitration to end a work stoppage that began over the weekend.

“Given the notoriety of this company, the arbitration process will likely be expedited, but we’re not talking days, we’re talking weeks,” said Robert Hickey, professor of labor and employment law at the ‘Queen’s University.

He also said that CP Rail is well aware of the importance and the need to manage labor relations and resolve the dispute quickly, as it awaits approval from a US regulator for its merger with the railway. American Railway Kansas City Southern.

“Labour relations are key to being a competitive player in this market,” he said.

In a statement early Tuesday morning, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference spokesman Dave Fulton said that while binding arbitration was not the preferred method, the union was able to negotiate terms that were in the best interests of its members, salaries and pensions remaining stumbling blocks. .

CP CEO Keith Creel said in a statement that the railroad is pleased to have reached the agreement to enter binding arbitration, allowing it “to resume our essential services for our customers and the supply chain. North American”.

The statement adds that CP will begin working with customers to resume normal train operations across Canada as soon as possible.

The two sides had met with the help of federal mediators.

CP Rail ceased operations on Sunday just after midnight. Hours later, Teamsters released a statement saying the employees were locked out but were also on strike.

Federal Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan said in a statement that the result “is further proof that when employers and unions work together, we achieve the best results for Canadians and our economy.”

Industry groups had been urging Ottawa to introduce back-to-work legislation to end the work stoppage, but O’Regan said over the weekend that the government believed the best deal was concluded at the bargaining table.