Canadian National strike threat worries farmers and potash miners

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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Canadian National moved a record amount of grain in Q1 2020, as well as in the month of April.
Canadian National Railway

Canadian National may be facing a strike from its employees represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. The contract between the railroad and the union expired in July, and if an agreement is not reached, the union could strike on November 19. Approximately 3,000 CN employees are represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. While the union vowed to continue negotiating with the railroad, 99.2 percent of them approved the possible strike last month.

The threat of the strike has potash miners and farmers concerned.

Potash miners ship their fertilizer to port via rail, and from there to market. An organization which helps miners market their product said it is “in consultation with CN to better understand any potential impact a service disruption could have to our supply chain. To the extent their may be an impact, we would then pursue mitigation plans accordingly.”

Grain shipments from Saskatchewan are going to be heavy during the month of November, due in part to a delayed harvest.  Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan president Todd Lewis said that this is “very bad timing. We’ve got some catching up to do already this fall,” referring to bad weather over the past few months. Lewis added “We’ve got customers that want our product,” but said there’s not much the farmers can do if a strike occurs, even if it’s a short one.

Source: Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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