MONTREAL – More than 3,000 Teamsters members have gone on strike at Canadian Pacific Railway after contract talks failed to reach an agreement before the midnight deadline.
The Teamsters Canada Rail conference union represents 3,300 locomotive engineers and other train workers. It was not clear early Sunday how rail service might be affected.
"I am incredibly disappointed," Labour and Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch, who had been involved in the bargaining effort, said in a statement. She urged the union to end the strike immediately and return to the negotiating table.
The minister called the strike "reckless disregard for Canadians and the Canadian economy" and said the government will review all available options including the introduction of legislation in Parliament.
A spokesman for the Teamsters suggested last week that any disruption of service would have a widespread effect on industries that rely on trains, and that railway managers would find it difficult to maintain service.
Canadian Pacific said last week that in the event of a strike it would "implement its extensive contingency plan by deploying qualified management employees to maintain a reduced freight service on its Canadian network."
In 2012, the federal government passed legislation to force an end to a nine-day strike by some 4,800 members of the Teamsters union and CP Rail employees.
It was estimated at the time that a prolonged strike would cost the Canadian economy $540 million a week.