CN Health & Safety Plan planned to be cancelled

Monday, August 29, 2005

On July 18, 2005 CN Rail notified the CAW that they intend to cancel the CN-CAW previously Negotiated Health & Safety Plan. The CAW will be going to arbitration this fall to address the issue. The CAW has asked that employees notify their Health and Safety Rep about any safety concerns at the work place.

One terminal has lost 5-6 full-time positions. CN Rail used to have part-time positions filled as well, but at this time there are no part-time employees to cover work if a full-time employee is absent. Overtime is necessary to keep the trains running on time. Intermodal traffic goes up, but staff goes down. CN Rail expects the trains to go out on time, and in a safe condition, but staff is overworked, because there are not enough of them. In fact, one worker noticed that most of the rail cars that contained 40 foot overseas containers did not have their loading guides in place. Trains are not allowed to go out without these guides placed into the cars (the guides stop the loads from swaying from side to side in the cars), important for safety with double stacked containers, but it seems that in this case the lack of employees forced the train to leave without them.

Some recent derailments have come to the attention of the media and politicians.

On August 3rd 2005 there was a derailment in Wabamun Lake Alberta that spilled toxins into the lake. 2 days later there was a derailment in Cheakamus River near Squamish BC. Both derailments spilled hazardous materials into the water. Many are saying that CN took too long to notify people of the toxic spills.

The Conductor on each train carries with him the shipping manifest with him and has access to that information at all times. Almost any CN terminal that has a clerk working at it with access to the CN Intranet can get this information within minutes.

CTV news has said that this is the 5th derailment for CN this month.

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