Canadian National Railway Employee Reviews

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Horrible place to work
Conductor (Current Employee) –  Edmonton, AB23 January 2018
Avoid this place at all costs. No life, everyone around you is miserable. Management is terrible. Co-workers are good but so jaded it's never a very positive experience.
Pros
pay is ok if you want no life
Cons
everything else, benefits are a joke
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a diverse working enviroment
PERMANENT MACHINE OPERATOR/TRACK MAINTAINER (Former Employee) –  Various across ontario15 January 2018
Ask any employee here, its any wonder this company makes money. Management has no idea what they're doing, are frequently way under trained, misinformed, and pressured to discipline employees excessively. It comes to the point where we come into work and wonder if we are going to get fired today. They always have some excuse, or reason to write you up, remove you from service, or assign demerits, or provide a failure on what they called random safety testing. Safety culture looks great on paper, means absolutely nothing in reality. The rules are written to cover the companies butts, and discipline employees and not actually keep anyone safe for the most part. The company and its constant monitoring, baby sitting and supervision of its employees makes you feel like your 12. They spend so much time making sure your actually working and following policy and rules to the exact letter you no longer actually focus on your job rather to make sure you aren't breaking any rules. Management also makes these amazing decisions on having the newer or less-experienced employees train the brand new employees instead of having the season and experienced employees do so. This is part of staff shortages and refusule to assign extra OJT (on the job trainers) to assist training. Other then that, the pay is awesome, benefits vary by union, the places to go, things to do are awesome! You spent your first months in a training facility either in Homewood IL or Winnipeg MB to learn.
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Fun people to work with but...
Conductor (Former Employee) –  Prince George, BC11 January 2018
Fantastic environment to work in.
Safety is a huge part in the day to day work
Very physical work as well as working outdoors
Most shifts are on call work
Pros
Lots to learn
Cons
Hours can be long
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Managment vs Unions. Just say yes.
Rail Traffic Controller (Current Employee) –  Vaughn10 January 2018
Union ranks are subject to round the clock shifts with a schedule that can change on 2 hours notice. There is no advancement as staffs are kept at the absolute minimum.
Front line managers often have zero business or HR training.
It's a very Us vs Them mentality when it comes to dealing with management.
Pay is great but the benefits are not.
There is no bonus. No Christmas party, No sense of belonging.
To CN Rail you are a number. Automation will take most of the unionized jobs in the next 10 years.
Pros
The pay
Cons
Everything else
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productive, fun
Car Checker (Former Employee) –  Thunder Bay, ON7 January 2018
Involved in several different aspects of CN. Was able to get training in several fields of the railway operation. Great group of people, union & management. No difficulties with any job. Was moving to B.C. Left after one year of employment
Pros
wages, benefits, co-workers
Cons
none
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An awesome job
Data Entry Clerk (Former Employee) –  Montréal, QC7 January 2018
Was in early every single day to start my work as I am very punctual. Love working on the computer as I taught myself the computer over 35 years without books. Great atmosphere. No hard part of the job. My boss was awesome. Working with a great team to complete the task at hand.
Pros
Awesome team
Cons
No cons
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Great company, horrible management!
Crew Dispatcher (Former Employee) –  Edmonton, AB13 December 2017
Great company but the worst management you could ever work for! Stay away from Crew Dispatching because the management will eat you raw! no work life balance. The only thing good was the pay and thats about it!
Pros
money and benefits are amazing!
Cons
management, work/life balance
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Efficient company
Electrical/mechanical Supervisor (Current Employee) –  Vaughan, ON9 December 2017
A great career choice with many departments to chose from, from mechanical, electrical, engineering to transportation and more. CN is in the top 100 employers.
Pros
Too many
Cons
Shift work
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Not ideal for mechanic at system engineering
Mechanic (Former Employee) –  Winnipeg, MB8 December 2017
Buttweld area is un healthy, lots of smoke coming from the machine, environment and the machine is dusty and dirty, not good to inhale those fumes coming out of the machine. Lots of outdoor repairs too and it's not good during winter time. Pay is not great, lots of companies out there that pay more if you have a red seal. Older mechanic do less and will take advantage of the new hire.
Pros
Pension only if you start at early age, good only for laborer where they can get high hourly rate compare to other company
Cons
30% only covered for safety shoes, no tool allowance, dirty place and outdoor work at extreme temperature, not enough time for family
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great pay, rough lifestyle
Freight conductor (Former Employee) –  Winnipeg, MB7 December 2017
pay is the only benefit, with a gr10 education you can easily make 100k. 24/7 on call lifestlye is very rough, management is always looking for a way to punish you weather you did anything wrong or not. 21st century company operating like its 1850.
Pros
pay
Cons
24/7 on call, bad management - union relationship
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CN is a great job
Assistant track manager (Current Employee) –  river sub3 December 2017
i would show up to work in my work truck hop on the track and inspected the track for 60 miles, you have to get off the track in between trains, mark bad areas, make sure crews are fixing the problems, clean snow from switches, keep inventory on weld, and rail defects, watch for other traffic at crossings, make sure lights work at crossings, ensure everyone is working safely, order materials if short, budget so we aren't spending too much, time management, make sure each job is entered into computer properly and has a charge number. ive learnt that I have a lot of responsibility and I can work under pressure to meet deadlines. Its a high pace high demand work with a lot of quality in these high pressure work projects. Managing time was the hardest with social life work life plus all the different work projects it was hard to balance everything to make everything work smoothly. I love the out doors and seeing the country side and meeting alt new people was really enjoyable
Pros
job suecurity, good benefits, goodpay
Cons
phone never stop ringing, short staff
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"Highly unrecommended"
Gang (Former Employee) –  Mb./Ont1 December 2017
In all honesty which can apply virtuosly towards all manners of review without one's inate ability to harbour ill-will this employer falls far short of any recommendation. The training program offered is typical of a bait and switch one in its content. The expectations are solely geared towards those chosen ones and to fall out of favour or question authority is strictly ill advised. The gang environment is just that with preference shown in a very brutal subordinate manner. The union is complicit in all manners of speaking due to the overwhelming burden they carry and complaints or attempts to seak redress in an efficent or conciliatory fashion/manner are met with a stone wall. Make attempts to communicate with upper management or head office and "you" will be redirected to no mans land.
Pros
Free Lunches
Cons
Unprofessional and Disrespectful Environment (Animals are treated better)
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Poorly managed, bitter employees
Truck Driver Equipment Operator/Labourer (Former Employee) –  BC29 November 2017
There is too large a divide between unionized employees and management so communication is almost non existent. the only types of people working on the ground are the bitter old timers or the new young ambitious people who get constantly cut down so they're exhausted. there is no recognition for a job well done. Hard to keep a positive outlook and actually want to go to work every day.

The pay is good, the opportunities are endless, the job is secure, its hard to get fired for good and its an interesting industry
Cons
No sick days
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Decent Place to work
LRC Electrician (Current Employee) –  Edmonton, AB26 November 2017
With CN Rail it has been a great place to work this far. The environment has been a little bit on the Toxic side due to backlash with some of the management changes and changes to how CN is running things inside of the shop. Management is trying to change the culture in the shop to work steady and produce quality work safely while giving full respect to each other. Some people are immune to thinking anything that involves the word "change". Other than the environment right now it is a good career path. You get your schedule so you can plan for your days off, you get 2 weeks vacation per year to start, you get great benefits, stock options and paid training in Winnipeg's CN Campus. Management doesn't push you to get things done very fast as they prefer having quality and reliability with their services then getting a Locomotive out of the shop and having it break down 5 miles down the track. Sure at first you have to deal with Seniority and working nights for approximately 5 years but after that it's gold! You will have work stability as long as you strive to get better at your job and work by the book safely. Lastly you get to be home with your family every day and nothing beats that when you've worked out of town for ages!
Pros
Benefits, Stock Options, Pension, Stability, Home with Family
Cons
Seniority based, Shift-like Schedules, Environment
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Not For Me
Signals and Communications Apprentice (Current Employee) –  Winnipeg, MB19 November 2017
Great pay and benefits, but you pay for it with time away from home, and the possibility of being indefinitely forced into a position up to 1500 km away from home
Pros
pay, stock program
Cons
poor management, away from home, forced to relocate
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amazing career opportunity
Heavy Duty Mechanic Apprentice (Former Employee) –  Winnipeg, MB14 November 2017
great fast paced work environment, new mechanical challenges every day with a top notch staff with the best in tooling and machinery in the industry!!
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Would recommend this job for stay local job and decent living wage. wage
Car Mechanic (Former Employee) –  Kamloops Division Yale Land District, BC13 November 2017
It has been a good place to work. The management end is very short staffed locally in the dept. This led to an undesirable work/life balance for potential 1st line supervisors with a short staff/huge workload to deal with. As a result....promotion from within for skilled trade workers as not been attractive so mostly office types are hired from outside or inexperienced apprentices resulting in an ineffective and unqualified management team. This coupled with a "generation purge" of experienced to new employee has resulted in a very small Journeyman to Apprentice ratio. The organization end of things has gone greatly down hill due this and as a result outside contractors are starting to scoop the work up.....typically paying lower wages with poor or non-existant benefits. Things are looking up as there is now more local management on board gaining experience and the young guys are catching up. Hopefully not too late to keep this great employment oportunity alive. If you wish to live and work local....don't mind night shift, physical work an the elements. ...definately give this a try.
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Good for some
Conductor (Former Employee) –  British Columbia10 November 2017
I MUST admit I wanted to keep this job because my Dad and brother worked there and it held a lot of memories but they have some weird unwritten rules along with all the written one's you have to know, no fighting, but you can say the worst things you can think of to your work mates and yes expect to get bullied full time, and if they decide to shrink the work force you will be fired for the slightest thing I saw good men get fired for minor infractions and drunks pedifiles and extreme slackers never even get noticed. A great place to work apparently for old NHL hockey players but the hours are very very intense and the older it gets the harder it is, would I go back ...............nope I love to sleep at night :)
Pros
You can be really stupid and a slacker
Cons
You will be working with really stupid people and slackers, Im no smart guy but I worked with a conductor alchoholic who couldnt read or write
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Interesting and challenging
Conductor (Current Employee) –  Winnipeg, MB9 November 2017
I'll give you the honest scoop. Railroading is a tough lifestyle. Whether you're working in the yard or on the road. Unless you have enough seniority to hold a yard shift with scheduled days off. Otherwise once your booked rest is over (you can book up to 24 hours rest after a shift) you have to be prepared to answer your phone at any time. And there is an inherent risk of serious injury or death when you're working with equipment as massive as a train. That's why the pay and benefits are so good. And it's not grunt work. Training involves hitting the books. You need 100% on your signals final. And there's 119 signals to learn. You then need 90% on your rules exam. And some of the rules are a little mind bending. That being said, I don't want to discourage anyone. You'll receive excellent paid training. The instructors are great. And like any job you'll have good days and bad days. And you'll work with some good people and some bad people. As for the culture, CN is 👍. So far they've treated me welI. I previously worked for CP and the management-employee relationship was very adversarial. Morale was rock bottom there. I'm much happier at CN. I'm not a CN cheerleader, I'm just telling it like it is.
Pros
Pay and benefits
Cons
Irregular schedule, exposure to the elements
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People are down to earth
On-boarding Supervisor (Former Employee) –  Saskatoon, SK6 November 2017
Welcome new hires; Act as Ambassador for CN; Resource to regional Officers and provide Support with OBEE; Reach out to current employees. Orchestrate and participated in engaging employees Social Events; address issues related to retention; reports; Train the Trainer presentation; additional administrative duties.
Pros
great salary
Cons
on call/ long hours
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Overall rating

3.4
Based on 401 reviews
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2.7Work/Life Balance
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