"After 34 bargaining sessions and agreement on many work rule and working condition provisions, we've been unable to reach agreement on our core issue of wages and benefits and have requested that ERB assign a mediator to help the parties move forward," a letter from TriMet Executive Director of Labor Relations and Human Resources Randy Stedman to the ERB stated.
In an effort to keep the process moving toward contract settlement, Stedman advised ERB that he believes the parties will continue to communicate, exchange proposals and meet, as needed, while mediation is scheduled.
The contract expired on November 30, 2012, and by law union members cannot strike. If a settlement cannot be reached via negotiations, an arbitrator selects one of the party's proposals through binding interest arbitration for the contract period.
While TriMet and its union continue to work towards an agreement, Canadian National has reached a new tentative collective agreement with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference – Conductors, Trainpersons and Yardpersons (TCRC-CTY). The parties' negotiation of a new tentative agreement averts a threatened strike by the union February 8, 2014.
Details of the three-year labor contract are being withheld pending ratification.
Jim Vena, CN executive vice-president and chief operating officer, said, "We commend the leadership of the TCRC-CTY for reaching consensus with the company and averting a possible strike. This will ensure continued service to our customers in a very challenging environment where extreme winter conditions have hampered CN operations and affected service levels."
Canada's Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, said, "A work stoppage by approximately 3,300 members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference would have damaging effects on our economy, on farmers in the prairies, to auto workers on the assembly line in Ontario, to forestry workers in Quebec. I am pleased that the parties continued to make every effort to settle their differences. It's essential that employers and unions work together to come to agreements that are in the best interest of everyone involved."