Hundreds of CP workers walk off the job in Manitoba
Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012 5:34PM CST
Thousands of Canadian Pacific Railway workers across the country hit the picket line Wednesday morning.
Already, the impact is being felt in Manitoba.
Many farmers depend on CP Rail to move their crops to customers and distributors. Some are concerned this transportation disruption could cut into their bottom line.
"Each week of shipping that is lost is going to jeopordize the shipping program for the whole season," says Doug Chorney, who is a grain farmer.
The workers walked off the job after failing to reach a contract agreement.
"Pensions are a big issue right now and some of the benefits," says CP worker Ron Thiede.
Business groups say if the strike continues, it could cost the Canadian economy half a billion dollars each week, putting Canadian jobs and industries at risk.
Ottawa says it's ready to impose back to work legislation if needed.
"We believe that a deal at the table is the best thing that can happen," says Federal Labour Minister, Lisa Raitt.
In an email statement, CP says it will lay off thousands of its other workers if this teamster strike continues. The company says it supports the government's decision if it does decide to intervene.
CP officials say 3,400 workers will be laid off because the trains aren't running.
The company estimates thousands of carloads of goods a day will be shutdown because of the strike.
-- with a report from CTV's Rajeev Dhir