Conductors' union accepts Canadian National Railway's bargaining offer

Offer made on condition of arbitration should talks fail

TORONTO (REUTERS) — The Teamsters union representing conductors, yard workers, and traffic coordinators agreed to meet with Canadian National Railway Co one last time in hopes of reaching a new a settlement, Canada's biggest rail operator said late on Saturday.

CN Rail's labor negotiation offer, made on Friday, was on the condition that the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC-CTY) accepts a binding arbitration should talks fail.

The union, which represents some 3,000 CN workers, will meet with the railroad next week, the Montreal-based company said.

The latest offer came after members had narrowly rejected a second tentative contract by a vote of 891 to 852, which the union said was because CN was not respecting rest periods under the current contract. CN has declined to comment on the charge.

After the failed vote, CN initially asked to settle unresolved issues through final binding arbitration, a process in which an arbitrator decides the final terms of the contract.

The dispute comes as CN works to comply with a government order to move 5,500 grain cars a week to address a massive bottleneck. The backlog is due to a record-shattering harvest in 2013, exacerbated by transport disruptions due to an extremely cold winter.

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