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CP job action not impacting West Coast Express commuters
A strike by Canadian Pacific Railway workers Wednesday did not disrupt Tri-City commuters who use the West Coast Express train to get to downtown Vancouver.
Members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference went on strike across the country but an agreement with management facilitated by federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt kept commuter trains running in the Lower Mainland as well as in Toronto and Montreal.
That means that the more than 6,000 people from the north Fraser region who rely on the rail service were able to get to work when the union walked off the job Wednesday morning.
"Our fight is not with the working public," said Jason Hnatuik, the picket captain of the picket line outside the CP Rail yard in Port Coquitlam. "Our fight is with the employer. We did not want to impact the commuters in anyway."
"We have made every reasonable effort to get a settlement," said Doug Finnson, vice-president of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. "Every union member knows how important the outstanding issues are. We will not walk away from the negotiation table."
The union blamed management for initially stating that the commuter trains could be shut down as a result of the job action. Teamsters Canada Rail Conference vice-president Doug Finnson said that the company was attempting to "fabricate a crisis".
Ninety-five per cent of the company's 4,800 unionized employees voted in favour of going on strike last month and notice of the job action was issued over the weekend.
"We have made every reasonable effort to get a settlement," said Finnson. "Every union member knows how important the outstanding issues are. We will not walk away from the negotiation table."