Canadian National Railway well within rights to contract out employees

No qualified workers around to do the job, employer says
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 09/23/2013

THE UNITED STEELWORKERS union accused the Canadian National Railway Company of violating the rules in the collective agreement on contracting out. The union sought $2,000 in damages. In the summer of 2011, the company dispatched a "tie gang" to perform repairs on a section of track near Lillooet, B.C. While the gang included a machine operator tasked to work the tie crane, the group did not include anyone who was qualified to operate excavating equipment.

However, the need for a qualified excavator operator soon became apparent in light of the degraded state of the track ballast (the gravel rail bed under the railway ties).

The company engaged a contractor to operate an excavator to shore up the ballast.