Ontario rail workers preparing to strike if negotiations aren’t met

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Published March 8, 2024 at 1:45 pm

Rail worker striking

A general strike is looming for Ontario Northland rail workers, as a deadline for strike action is teetering on the horizon.

Unifor Local, Canada’s largest union in the private sector with 315,000 workers represented, is leading the charge to secure a collective agreement for worker’s rights as these disputes carry on. Primary issues concerning workers include benefits and wages, with further negotiations set to take place between March 8 and March 12. 

“Despite the challenges, our members have remained steadfast, demonstrating their resilience and determination to fight for what is just,” said Lana Payne, President of Unifor National in an official statement. “It’s disheartening to see the disparity between the treatment of our hardworking members and the executive level’s payout.”

According to Jeremey Rodgers, President of Unifor Local 103 (the division Ontario Northland workers fall under), the primary catalyst for strike action was “significant changes” made on behalf of higher-ups at Ontario Northland. These changes severely impacted both the benefits and wages that were already held as a standard by rail workers at the time. 

Ontario Northland’s reasoning for these cuts was cited as financial constraints, according to Rodgers. 

Efforts made on behalf of Unifor Local 103 have been taking place since last summer, and if this final round of negotiation fails, a general strike will be called by midnight on March 12. If a general strike is called, the region that will be the most heavily impacted will be stops along Ontario Northland’s freight line, which includes North Bay, Timmins and Cochrane. 

Northland Rail Route

 

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