Canadian National Railway

135 reviews

Canadian National Railway Employee Reviews

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good work and stable job with the right amount of seniority.
Conductor (Current Employee), Capreol, ONJanuary 27, 2016
Pros: good pay and time off
Cons: long hours and unpredicatble
- Over all a day at work is somewhat challenging and rewarding when working in the yard and have deadlines to meet.
- Long hauls are a nice break from the daily grind but also come with some stressors.
- Preparations and communication amongst the crew is typically very well established.
- A wide range of experience can be found within terminals, which leads to new practices and knowledge.
- Most enjoyable part of this job is the time off between shifts.
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CN Conductor
Conductor Trainee (Former Employee), Winnipeg, MBJanuary 15, 2016
Pros: eventually good pay
Cons: everything but the pay
You live to work.

Then you get laid off and you can't live.

Very true they spend $50k training you and then $100k trying to fire you.

Toxic Management. Continually steal money from workers and break agreements.
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hard job on personal life
Conductor (Former Employee), Edmonton, ABJanuary 13, 2016
Pros: great pay and benefits
Cons: on call all the time hard to plan a life around work.
getting called 2 hours before the start of your shift, never knowing when exactly you are going to be working next. Learned how to control a train and run the train from point a to b.

Management likes things done a certain way. always worried about getting the job done on time even if it may not be the safest or right way to do things.

co-workers were awesome to work with on a daily basis. always there to help you if you needed help.

hardest part is the late night shifts when you are not expecting to go to work and then you get called with little to no rest.
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Nice place to work
Electrician Apprentice (Former Employee), Edmonton, ABJanuary 9, 2016
Great place to work, people are great and benefits are really good.
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CN RAIL = Just a pay cheque, no quality of life EVER
Various (Former Employee), Winnipeg, MBJanuary 4, 2016
Cons: Long hours, shift work your entire career, no family life. Ever.
Everyone talks about how great the pay is when working for this railway... however this company HAS to provide a good wage because otherwise nobody would want to work here. Ever.
Advice: STAY AWAY.

The main problem appears to be very bad/inexperienced management with front line Supervisors having zero experience. Since very few long-term employees want to accept a management position the company is reduced to hiring "off the street". This unfortunately amounts to bad decisions day in and day out with blame for errors or low productivity unfairly being directed to the unionized employees.

With over 30+ years of service with this company I can honestly say that my co-workers were great but the disappointing management has ruined a once great company.
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great work for the independant person with skills
locomotive engineer (Former Employee), Edmonton, ABDecember 31, 2015
Great job, very demanding hours. on call 24/7/365. up to 18 hours per day. Enjoyed my job. Very large turnover in management made all employees to be very good at their positions.
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Get in quick or you'll be on off shifts forever!
Railcar Inspector (Current Employee), Vancouver, BCDecember 22, 2015
Pros: Co workers, different positions to bid, the pay, fast paced
Cons: Work in all weather conditions, all the time, with no sick days. Shift work.
Hired at a good time, didn't see too many off shifts other than my apprenticeship.

Decent overtime and stat pay, except you're expected to work all the stats....benefits are not bad and pension seems good.

Work with some great guys,there are times when work is great and can actually be fun. Some bad blood around, and people just waiting to retire.

Some upper management just wants productivity and doesn't seem to care much about anyone under them.

No preventative maintenance done to our work trucks, they only see a shop once something breaks down, horrible road conditions which makes for quick break downs of vehicles.
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A typical day at work
Trainmaster (Former Employee), Saskatoon, SKDecember 7, 2015
Pros: Salary and benefits
Cons: Lifestyle
It was a career I enjoyed but the hours required to perform my job was taxing being up by 5 if you got to sleep at all preparing for multiple conference calls and preparing your days traffic and tasks. It was literally 24/7 but a very fulfilling career none the less.
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Tough work environment, decent pay
Conductor Trainee (Former Employee), Saskatoon, SKDecember 6, 2015
Pros: Pay, benefits
Cons: Long hours, unpredictable shifts, outside winter work.
A tough work environment, decent pay for those that can hack it. Long unpredictable on call schedules, lots of out of town long hauls over nights. Rough outside at night in winter conditions no matter how many gloves you wear when riding on boxcars. Decent pay and benefits, management vs union attitude though.
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Challenging and highly demanding
Assistant Track Supervisor (Current Employee), Toronto, ONNovember 25, 2015
Pros: Good salary and expenses. Company vehicle.
Cons: Long hours in all weather. Forced relocation.
Operating 24 hours a day, the railway doesn't allow for much work/life balance. Safety is critical, and there are severe consiquneces for mistakes. Engineering is extremely complex and critical to safe operating practices. Supervision of Unionized employees isn't difficult, however the rare disiciplinary action that may be required does add tension to an already stressful job. On the whole, the Unionized employees are among the finest and most professional in the industry. Safe, quick, and intelligent.

The best part of the job is in knowing that your inspections and ability to spot defects is preventing derailments, keeping people safe and you're saving lives.
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It's an interesting place to work and there is a lot of diversity with this job.
Conductor (Current Employee), Saskatoon, SKNovember 12, 2015
Pros: Paid schooling, room for growth, company shares, good pay
Cons: Long hours, high expectations and low reciprocity, difficult managers, absence of a good training program, unfair reprocutions for first time minor mistakes.
CN is for the most part a decent place to work, with all of its pros and cons. However, It would be good to implement some new ideas, maybe give CN a fresh outlook on things. I'd like to stay with CN till I retire but getting laid off all of the time is making that difficult. Not having enough income to survive due to company layoffs is very stressful.
I'd like a better way for employees to be able to look things up in cats or on eportal. When it comes to their current job or when it comes to finding a new one or for anything for that matter.
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good pay and pension
Freight Conductor (Current Employee), Sarnia, ONNovember 8, 2015
Pros: pay
Cons: hours and instability
The pay and pension is good but the work is unstable and CN doesnt care abouth their employees. The hours are unpredictable and you work in any kind of weather.
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7/365 busy. Always something to do.
Heavy Equipment Operator (Current Employee), Brampton, ONOctober 29, 2015
Pros: Opportunity for growth
Cons: Dangerous work environment
The most enjoyable part of my job was operating state of the art Railway Transportation Heavy Equipment. Always something to do, so the day flew by. Plenty of opportunity for growth.
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Don't expect a fair deal
Assistant Track Supervisor / Road Master (Former Employee), Vancouver, BCOctober 27, 2015
Pros: Excellent benefits package
Cons: Poor people Management and a non-existent work life balance
Although this company is trying to change it's corporate culture it is too mired in the past to make any real gains.
Senior Managers (generally those who have been there 30 years) have a vested interest in keeping costs down as they are financially rewarded for reducing expenditures. The result is a lack of staff and equipment to make the job functional. It is like pulling teeth trying to get the proper tools for the job.
Additionally the management style is stuck in the 1970's. Very shouty. shouty and heavy into a blame culture. The first and most valuable lesson to learn is "trust no-one" (a direct quote from my regional chief).
If you do not want work/life balance and feel you deserve to be punished for things out of your control than apply here.
If you don't want to be on call 24 -7 and want to be able to sleep at night, look elsewhere.
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They don't practice what they preach
N/A (Former Employee), Montréal, QCOctober 22, 2015
Pros: competitive salary $$
Cons: Politics, "NO" growth opportunity
Absolutely "NO" growth opportunity.. They don't practice what they preach. eXEXCS MAKING THE BIG BUCKS AND MIDDLE CLASS (REGULAR EMPLOYEES, WHO ARE DOING MOST OF THE JOB) SUFFER
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Ok place to work if you don't want a life
Labourer/Tractor Operator (Former Employee), TorontoOctober 9, 2015
Pros: good pay, good benefits, job security
Cons: Terrible shifts and off days, no work life, just a number, no sick days
The people i worked with were great. The management treats you like you are a robot. If you call in sick you are punished and frowned upon. You will have absolutely no life working here as you will most likely be on nights with two week days off for at least the first 10 years of service.
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Great
Locomotive Engineer (Former Employee), Hornepayne, ONOctober 5, 2015
Pros: Travelling across Canada
Cons: Very demanding at times
Working for CN has been great. It has provided me the opportunity to take on new challenges and work with amazing people.
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No opportunity for growth but well paid
IT projects & implementation specialist (Former Employee), Montréal, QCSeptember 25, 2015
Pros: well paid
Cons: no career development
A work place with old management style and a culture of management fighting unionized workers... So expect little career progress but fairly good compensation.

People go home at 5pm, so good work/life balance... Good place for lifers who just want to a job to pay the bills, then retire.

Good job security as long as you do your job.
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Productive and fun place top work
Tractor Trailer Operator (Former Employee), Toronto, OntarioSeptember 24, 2015
Very productive and fun place to work with great people. A lot of room for an employee to grow with great training to go along with it.
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Wprked there for 19 years. Experienced alot and grew with the company.
Train Movement Clerk (Former Employee), Edmonton, ABSeptember 10, 2015
Pros: Benefit program.
In my many years with CN, I grew with the company, learned alot about the railway industry. Excellent benefits. I worked in two parts of the railway, fiirst was the Revenue Management, learnt how to apply payments from customers, deposits, data entry. The second part was a Train Movement Clerk which was building the trains by watching cameras and applying the switching on computers and sending to the Engineers.
Claimed Profile
Employees
10,000+
Industry
Links
Canadian National Railway website
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