NGFA urges Canadian leaders to avoid rail strike Sarah Gonzalez May 9, 2024

NGFA urges Canadian leaders to avoid rail strike

NGFA and 19 other Agricultural Transportation Working Group members urged Canadian leaders to take action to avoid a rail strike that could begin as soon as May 22.

The Teamsters Canada union, which represents 9,000 workers at Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC), has threatened to strike as they negotiate labor agreements. Earlier this month, the union’s members voted in favor of a strike, which “would disrupt supply chains on a scale Canada has luckily never experienced,” said Teamsters Canada President Paul Boucher.

In a May 9 letter to Minister of Labour Seamus Regan, NGFA and other stakeholders said rail in Canada should be designated as an essential service. “A rail stoppage would lead to shutdowns or slowdowns of rail-dependent facilities resulting in devastating consequences to national and global food security,” the letter noted.

“Our memberships rely on freight rail to move essential products across Canada and the U.S. and a disruption to CN and CPKC’s rail service could ripple across North America,” NGFA and the other groups stated. “The impact of a strike would be particularly severe as trucking is not a viable option for many shippers due to their high-volume needs and the long distances for many of the movements.”