My husband had applied for the Conductor position at CP. He was contacted by CP hiring-manager-type person and went through a phone interview. Later followed by a an in-person interview. Passed a drug test. Waited on training, which was postponed from August, to September. Then September to October. Then again until November and finally, again, until January. Luckily during this time, he had a reliable job that allowed him to continually prolong his stay.
Finally, the training began. Training, which according to CP will take 4 months, only pays $1400/2 weeks. One of the paychecks removes an almost $100 union due - which makes it a $1300 paycheck. This is an alright wage for classroom time, however, after the initial couple of weeks of classroom time, they send you to in-the-field training. During this training, you follow various positions and go to various locations, at bizarre hours. with random days off. Your schedule gets sent to you on Sunday night for the Monday-Sunday. You are constantly asked to stay overtime with no extra pay. This is somehow legal through the union contract. You will be making $2700/month and working 200 hours, rather than 160. Sometimes only having 1 random day off between shifts, where you will be sleeping to recover from night shift, only to start day shift the following day.
Of course, this year, the Covid19 pLandemic happened. CP extended the in-the-field training. It is now end of JULY (7 months since training has sta
Prosmedical & dental benefits
Conslong hours, exteme shift work, low wages for training, no work/life balance
Working at CP is like working in a special little bubble where time theft does not exist. For each eight hour day you really only work for about five hours, maybe less if you're paired with certain people. The work is dirty sometimes but never really strenuous; cranes do the heavy lifting and locomotives are relatively easy to work on.
Aside from the relatively high pay, there are not many pros to this career as a diesel tech at CP. Apprentices rotate 3 months at a time on the various shifts, 7-3, 3-11, and 11-7. The apprenticeship is only company-wide, however. Not ITA. After 3 years (or if you qualify to skip apprenticeship) you are at the bottom of the totem pole and are placed in the fuel stand on night shift. It is a place where Diesel Service Assistants used to preside. CP nixed that contract and now they want Diesel Mechanics to go clean toilets and fuel units (at the DM rate of pay). What a bad idea. After maybe 5-10 years, you may be able to bid your way into a different shift. Good luck, many elderly men refuse to retire even though their pension is already set to go. When they do retire they'll probably only live to enjoy 4 years of pension I wager. Serious.
The afternoon shift earns a $0.75 premium, while nights only earn $0.25 on top of that. The night shift is frustratingly pointless, as maybe five or seven people are there each shift and a few, if not all of them are sent to the fuel stand. The diesel shop sits empty but they still have people working
Canadian Pacific is a company sewn into Canadian history. I am proud to say I have been a part of it. It does have its issues though. The management culture has been documented quite well in the past couple years as being hostile and toxic towards its employees. Wrongful terminations and unjustified punishments were rampant up until recently. Adding this to the fact that Running Trade Employees (RTEs) such as myself are required to be on call 24/7 makes it quite a stressful workplace.
On freight trips, RTEs will take a train across 1 subdivision (usually about 120 miles long). The engineer is responsible for the movement of the train (driving it), while the conductor is responsible for any switching tasks that may need to be performed, making sure that proper documents are on the train, as well as making sure that the train is operating within all of the rules set out by the railway and Transport Canada. Crews can be away from home for over 30 hours on 1 trip, and working up to 3 or more trips a week.
On yard shifts, the engineer is responsible for the safe movement of the locomotive. The conductor and brakeman are responsible for executing the switch lists assigned to them by the yardmaster or assistant train master. One of the skills that comes with this is learning how to problem solve and create efficient and safe short cuts in the switching operations to help execute the switch list faster.
The hardest parts of this job can be boiled down to two things. The lac
ProsOperate heavy machinery, job rich in national history, powerful work equipment
Conslong hours, unpredictable work schedule, bad management
Although I spent many years with this company ,I found it very hard to plan with my family , except for AV ,any quality time .
I spent many hours at home doing work changing plans for work and in the end it cost my family and I years of lost time ending in divorces
Typical day!! was to plan to get through the day safely and hope that something wouldn't break down and delay operations ,hoping that your guys where working safely watching each others backs.
making sure that parts and supplies where there should they be required checking on outstanding work orders training Operators and mechanics on what they need to know to keep the flow moving planning repairs shifting staff schedualing priority repairs .
I guess if I have to say anything Positive about this company it allowed me to learn and work with a great bunch of guys from other cultures , countries etc .
I was given the opportunity to really challenge myself both mentally , physically . I gained the skills that make me who I Have to be in order to compete In a rapidly changing fast paced world .
the toughest part of the job was being a husband to my wife , father to my children ,as I always was the job , trying to be the best provider showing that I always had to close the deal it was hard to always have to run to keep up .
I've been able to see most of Canada with my work, was always trusted to lead my team , and respected by most who trusted my work and felt safe letting me guide them in the t
ProsI would have to say that we made it safely through the day, season without the loss of a member of the crew, be it at work or traveling home, hard to comment on things you never really get and pay cheque's don't count
ConsNever good enough!! always threatened with cut backs job cuts if you don't do more with less
12hr days, at a desk on the phone and radio with train crews. Assisting operations by troubleshooting mechanical issues over the road to help keep trains moving. It is a faced paced, high intensity environment. Where critical decisions have to be made to ensure operational fluidity and plans are executed as precisely as possible.
The desk requires 24/7 coverage and more often than not you are called in to work on your days off, furthermore, non-union employees do not receive overtime or lieu days for extra hours worked.
My particular department could be managed more effectively. There aren’t enough people to cover the desk, which requires those of us who are available, to work overtime with no compensation. Work/life balance is minimal at best.
Corporate environment is in a constant state of flux and extremely stressful. There isn't real succession planning and you can no longer apply for jobs that are available, making it difficult to map out your career. Your next career move is left to the employment center, which feels like its left entirely out of your hands and that your best interests are not necessarily taken into consideration.
The people in large part are very hardworking, dedicated, and loyal. I've made some lifelong friendships and for that I am grateful. However, it is no longer an enjoyable place to work and without the ability to plan my career I feel like I could be stuck in my current role indefinitely.
What I've learned from my current role is how to
Great Benefits, that's about it. Toxic work environment
CP claims it's a great place to work but I did not find it so. they have a great benefits package and the unionized positions are great but from the moment you are out of training, They are out to get you. The company runs its employees on a demerit system and managers watch you while you work to make sure you comply with the rules, If they even think they saw you break a rule you get hauled in and interrogated and even if you defend yourself its their word against yours and they always back their managers over you. and if someone on your crew breaks a rule or causes an incident even if you are not in a position where you can do anything you are still at fault and go down with the ship. every so often you earn an extra day off or EDO but they dictate when you can use it (you get a set day of each month like the 10-11-12) when you can use these days off and if your regular days off happen to fall on those days then you cant use any extra days off and you can hold up to 12 EDO at a time but can use no more than 3 at once. Most of the Trainmasters at CP have little to no experience working the ground and have very bad time management skills which causes headaches in the yards and problems for the crews almost on the daily. Your schedule is 100% unpredictable because it depends on everyone else's schedule who has higher seniority than you. you are expected to pay yourself through their computer system which is as old as the internet itself and they never properly train you on ho
Start with project application, work out the details, speak to client to clarify any inconsistencies. Create layout, get approval,create final, get final approval with signature, send to printer for proofs, get client approval on proofs, if any changes, effect changes, get new proof for client approval. Once approved, get printed.
I have learned all aspects of design/illustration and printing. I started before computer illustration existed, utilizing blue-line, type sheets and kodalith film to product final text-ready ads. Learned to air-brush for illustration and photo-correction.
With the advent of computers, I started on a PC with the premier version of all graphics programs; Aldus Pagemaker (before Adobe bought the program), Photoshop 1.0, Illustrator 1.0, CorelDRAW 1.0, etc. I had learned to manage the workflow so that deadlines were constantly and consistenly met. I learned colour correction and photo manipulation that traditional art techniques lacked.
I learned to work with upper management, supporting the CEOs of Canadian Pacific over the years. I had learned tact and diplomacy, when to push a point and when not to. I learned to work with my co-workers as a group, finding ways to solve design/techical issues and to produce the best final product possible in the timeframe available. I learned that no matter how rushed the project is, people remember the finished product, not the road it took to get there.
The hardest part was working with clients who had unreasona
Proscontacts in the print world, expanding knowledge with every difficult project.
Interesting, historically sought after job marred by draconian, unethical management
Poor work life balance. While on call, you have two hours notice of a shift that can last for two days. Management has a minimum proficiency fail rate that forces them to nitpick and follow employees in order to find fault so their own job does not come into jeopardy. They do this under the guise of of creating a culture of safety. This creates a very tense atmosphere between workers and management.
Management puts the onus of safety on those who do the physical work, then push the employees to the brink of exhaustion, ignore the collective agreement, then threaten employees with termination if they do not comply. Management makes no bones about individuals being dispensable and replaceable. Through arbitration, most terminations have been found unwarranted and employees are reinstated after potentially years of being unemployed. This costs the union substantial capital and is an example of the poor ethics of leadership. While wrongfully terminated, employees are forced to take loans, lesser paying jobs and watch their families suffer financially before being reinstated. CP stands as a beacon of corporate greed and a questionable regard for those who turn the wheels of their profit.
You will make lifelong friendships here at CP. You will lose precious time with your friends and families. You will miss birthdays, Christmas dinners, anniversaries and first steps of your children. The monetary compensation can be substantial. You will be able to comfortably feed, clothe
Challenging work in a unique environment, and a ruthless high management which created a generally miserable workplace attitude.
A typical tour of duty at CPR consists of taking a call for a train at any hour of the day, rain or shine. After leaving the station, the trip can last anywhere from 3 to 12 hours to the next station. The length of trip depends on factors such as the number of other trains that happen to be traveling on the same subdivision at the same time, the priority of your train, weather, temperature, issues with the train itself and the time it takes to inspect and sometimes fix these issues, and the possibility of work to do along the way (picking up and/or dropping off train cars). Once at the other station, the conductor and engineer can wait anywhere from 0 to upwards of 20 hours waiting to get on another train to come back to the home station.
My co-workers were very diverse in nature, and for the most part everyone was great to work with. There was a sharp divide between management and the rest of the workers which seemed to be encouraged by high levels of management, especially by the philosophy of the new company owner.
I found the hardest part of the job to be the utterly unpredictable nature of the schedule, and being woke up by the phone in the middle of the night with little to no warning. The part of the job I liked the most was the fact that there is not really anything like a "typical" day, which meant that each shift was different and offered new challenges and learning experiences.
ProsChallenging and unique workplace, very competitive wage
ConsTotally unpredictable schedule, living attached to my phone (always on call), ruthless management.
No respect, highly poisonous environment and culture, to make it simple to understand (imagine working for the worst crooks in the world as and be at the lowest level with them) if you imagine that and still want to work for this company, then it is only you to blame for what they will do to you.
It is unbelievable how bad this company is still operating in N America, and get away with things they get away with. It literally runs like NY gangs from the 1900s movies. There is not enough place here to state all the bad things that I saw in my many years of employment there, the pay is good, but they take it back from you 10 time fold from the stress that takes a toll on your health and your family (and if you dare to go down or complain to anyone in this company including the CEO and/or his immediate subordinates , this company will put you down permanently-as they did to me and many other good employees), nearly all low management level personal (which I was One of them ) , have to show up to work under the influence of drugs or heavy alcohol to be able to withstand the abusive treatment from upper management. (And when you refuse to do that like I did and show up to work sober, the stress of unbelievable poor treatment from your supervisor will take it down. It is very usual to stay up to 16 hrs or more on a 12 hour shifts (and you will never be appropriated) no matter what.
In my experience at CP, workplace abuses are generously rewarded and if you work respectfully
Most 4-5 star reviews written by company to boost ratings!!
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If you see a 4 star review - it's 95% chance it's the company's HR trying to boost their ratings. NO JOKE don't fall for it!
I'm a very positive, go getter person with a college degree. I have a passionate hatred for this company. In fact everyone does, management and workers. I have worked for many large companies and this is by far - in another league BAD.
Example. Good employee, comes to work. Always does a great job, never lays off. Gets along with others well. Makes one small mistake. What is a mistake? Well maybe it's not having your boot laced up. Saying 'over' on the radio. Get it? Something very insignificant. BOOM investigation and 30 days off.
And the unions? Unbelievably weak. They can't do squat! They say take it to arbitration. But arbitration is usually backed up 3 years!!
Your under paid for the constant on-call, sleep deprived, work life imbalance, family disfunction, work harassment, treatment like a dog, and truly not knowing if you'll be fired tomorrow. I'm not sure what would be enough?
What other industry has Can insurance (you have to pay for insurance in case you're fired?) Really?
Some of the contracts I see from other transportation unions in the economy make RR look foolish. Look at the latest CP hourly agreement. Ouch! (You may think hourly is good but you wouldn't know what your are talking about.)
You would say no way. Impossible. Must be more to it. NOPE. It's that bad I use to read reviews
It comes from the very top, culture is awful, management gets in trouble for not writing up employees even when they have done nothing wrong. Targeting employees is commonplace. It is very much a "what have you done for me lately" type of place.
Employees are treated as if they are expendable and are expected to work outside for 12 hours a day with only a 20 minute lunch break. Safety is such an afterthought that I got yelled at for letting a conductor come inside for a few minutes to warm his hands up when it was -20°F. He had been outside for 4 hours. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to let someone lose a finger to frostbite just so a train departs 1 minute early. All they care about is production, safety is definitely not their number 1 concern.
Employees are treated awful by managers who are treated even worse by upper management. Low level management turnover is so bad they offer their own employees $25k+ bonuses to take management jobs and still nobody wants them. The job is extremely stressful. They can't retain managers because of their toxic and stressful workplace environment so they developed a "consequence leadership program" to try to develop them. If you go in as a manager/dispatcher/yardmaster you will be forced to do little homework assignments on interactions you have with employees showing you have used their leadership program. Everyone hates doing this and all it does is give the bored executives something to read and berate you over.
If they paid $250k
ProsRailroad retirement and decent benefits, fully vested management pension after 3 years