Rail News: June 11th, 2024

Update: Labor Negotiations in Canada

Couple labor negotiation situations happening out in Canada. Here’s what we know (so far) about each of these situations.

Canada border agent negotiations:

Near the end of May the union voted enormously to authorize a strike, which could have started as early as last Friday (June 6th). However, no strike has been issued as of yet as the union and the Canadian government continue talks, until at last the middle of this week, per Supply Chain Dive.

It should also be noted that these border agents are essential workers, meaning the Canada border would not be closed, even if a strike takes place. However, productivity could decline, which would create processing and traffic delays at various entry points, for those transporting freight between the U.S. and Canada.

Canada rail union negotiations:

Negotiations still continue as no tentative agreement has been reached for a new contract involving rail unions at CN and CPKC.

Last week the union and CN Railway were scheduled to continue bargaining talks. Those talks unfortunately fell apart after the first day of the meeting, per a statement from the union, due to the parties not seeing “eye-to-eye.”

As a reminder, in early May the rail union voted to authorize a strike, the earliest (at that time) a strike could have occurred was May 22nd. However, the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) was requested to review the impact on public safety if a strike occurred. The investigation is continuing, which means no strike or worker lockouts can occur until a decision is made.


U.S. Rail Traffic From the Week Ending June 1st, 2024:

  • Weekly data shows U.S. rail traffic at 450,077 carloads and intermodal units – seeing a 2.4% increase from the same time last year, per AAR data.
  • Intermodal volume in the U.S. saw an 10.7% increase (243,841 containers and trailers) from the same period last year.
  • Commodities including grain, farm products (excluding grain and food), and petroleum and petroleum products all saw increases. While coal, non-metallic minerals and miscellaneous carloads all saw decreases.
  • In the first 22 weeks of this year, rail volume in North America was up 2% (14,459,420 carloads and intermodal units) when compared to last year

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