Union Studies Worker Buyout of CN

The largest union at Canadian National Railways is launching a feasibility study of a worker buyout of the Crown corporation. The United Transportation Union (UTU) representing 10,000 of CN's 38,000 employees is anticipating that the federal government will privatize CN and possibly sell it to Canadian Pacific or a major American railway.

Over the past five years CN has downsized its operations, shedding hotels, a communications subsidiary, numerous other properties and investments, and its trucking operations (now the subject of a criminal investigation because of the manner in which it was bankrupted by the entrepreneurs who bought it from the government). In total, 13,000 CN workers lost their jobs, and it is anticipated that another 5000 jobs will be lost by 1993.

UTU General Chairperson Tom Hodges has been pushing the feasibility study proposal among the 14 unions representing CN workers. Recently he stated: “While we are not advocating the purchase of CN Rail by its employees, it is important that we have all the facts available to us should it be necessary for CN Rail employees to protect themselves against the purchase of CN Rail by CP Rail ... A feasibility study, which can be expected to take up to two years to conduct, will enable us to make a more informed decision with respect to the options available to employees.”

CN would be an expensive proposition for any purchasers. According to its 1989 annual report, it has assets of $8.14 billion and debt of $3.17 billion. In 1989, CN declared a profit of $205.8 million on revenues of $4.2 billion.

More information is available from Tom Hodges, General Chairperson, United Transportation Union, 55 King St., Suite 600, St. Catharines, Ontario L2R 3H5 (416) 641-2770

From Worker Co-op, The Voice of economic democracy in Canada, Fall, 1990 Vol. 10 No. 2 P. 7. Subscriptions are $17/year, from Worker Co-op Magazine, P.O. Box 101, Station G, Toronto, Ontario M4M 3E8



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