Canadian National Railway Reviews in Edmonton, AB | Glassdoor

Canadian National Railway Edmonton Reviews

Updated March 23, 2017
29 reviews

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Edmonton, AB, Canada Area (Canada)

3.0
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Canadian National Railway President and Chief Executive Officer Luc Jobin
Luc Jobin
1 Rating

29 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • The hours can be taxing, considering you are on call 24/7/365, getting time off is a real chore (in 14 reviews)

  • Work Life balance can be challenging for mid to upper level positions (in 14 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I worked at Canadian National Railway full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Work hard and you will be rewarded.

    Cons

    Long hours, 24/7 responsibilities. Tough to balance work and personal life.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "the money is decent, no leadership though"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Pay Systems Auditor in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Pay Systems Auditor in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Canadian National Railway full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good benefits, decent pay, good co-workers all make for a tolerable career choice. Depending on the department you have the chance for re-location across North America.

    Cons

    Most managers are promoted based on whom they know or on their willingness to bend rules and maximize profits. There is little leadership training and instead on-the-job learning is used. I can only speak to my experience in Operations and recommend anyone does research before hiring on. You will get a decent salary but it comes at a great personal cost.

    Advice to Management

    Please stop promoting sociopaths. There are a lot of great people working for your company and they need to be led by good managers and leaders who can use any other tool than fear to get results.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Forman"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - Carpenter in Daysland, AB (Canada)
    Current Intern - Carpenter in Daysland, AB (Canada)
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Canadian National Railway as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Plan days work for crew of four and set goals to get done by end of day. Request for time off in days off was no problem as long as the job gets done

    Cons

    Excessive paper work with no compensation. Planning and executing the job difficult with the calibre of people hired. Management could listen to for men for hiring different people

    Advice to Management

    Listen to lower class workers


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  5. Helpful (2)

    "CN, money's great, life sucks."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Signals and Communications Engineer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Signals and Communications Engineer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Canadian National Railway (More than a year)

    Pros

    You can make some really great money there if you have no want to have a life. The benefits are quite good as well.

    Cons

    Treated like garbage, some racism among management. Your not exactly a person your a dollar value.

    Advice to Management

    People shouldn't be in management just because of "time served" if they don't know how to manage people then they shouldn't be in that position. Take some courses.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Decent pay but so-so work/life balance."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Railroad Conductor in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Railroad Conductor in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Canadian National Railway full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Decent pay considering you don't need any previous training. Only needed a GED and there were even talks about removing that requirement.
    Company matched RRSP and stocks.
    Depending on how busy it is you may work overtime or work extra shifts(can be good or bad) but at a larger terminal you were never forced to do more work.
    Dental, health, vision, life insurance benefits offered from day 1.
    Brand new training facility located in Winnipeg which included free meals and hotel accommodations.

    Cons

    Biggest con is the work and life balance.
    New employees once finished with training are typically put on the "spareboard" which means you are randomly assigned to areas where work is needed. This can be anywhere from road jobs (taking freight from city to city) or working at any yards within your terminal. This can also mean being forced to another city or town where they are short workers. There is a 2 hour minimum call to work but often it is hard to predict when and where you may work next.

    Classroom training is quite intensive with about 8-9 hours of rule book training. Outside of class many people form study groups to help learn the massive amount of material. All tests require a minimum 90% to pass and the railroad signals test is 100%. In total classroom training takes 7 weeks with 2 of those weeks being spent in a very basic bootcamp which teaches basic switching, entraining/detraining, tying on hand brakes, doing up air hoses etc...

    Older employees who have been with the company for several decades are sometimes hesitant to change and show animosity towards inexperienced employees.
    Managers on the other hand can be hard to get along with. They often harp on the radio asking where you are and what you've done so far.
    There are periods of fast paced work and other times where you literally do no work at all for example sitting in a siding for hours waiting for other rail traffic to pass.
    If working in the yards you literally have a 20 minute lunch break with no other assigned breaks. Obviously this is against Canada labour laws but it's in the employee/employer agreement.

    I go could go on and on about other negatives with working with the railroad but it definitely is not the cosy job that it once was.

    Advice to Management

    Get a clue and learn to sympathize with employees. Work is sometimes tough and will only get done when we all work together... That means you can lend a hand from time to time as well.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Transportation"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Canadian National Railway full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Pay is very good, thanks in large part to this being a unionized company. CN has decent benefits, and one of the best private pension plans in Canada.

    Cons

    Since the company privatized and American E. Hunter Harrison took over from Paul Tellier as CEO, the management style became militarized. What keeps long term employees at CN is their pension, while the company has had difficulty at times retaining younger workers, in part the work environment, shift work and seeing high volumes of discipline being imposed on employees.

    Advice to Management

    Lighten up on the military style management! Give employees a break from time to time. Life is too short. And respect your workforce!


  8. Helpful (3)

    "locomotive engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Locomotive Engineer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Locomotive Engineer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Canadian National Railway full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's all about the money. It's all I ever expect, that money every two weeks deposited in my account. I am never disappointed by the company, my co workers, or management because other than getting the money I simply don't care about anything anymore, and that's good. I never miss a day, don't talk back, I'm not even really "there". Forward, Back, Stop. That's the way they like it too, so it's working out.

    Cons

    I feel nothing at work except the cold in winter and a vague sense of missing something I used to have, some camaraderie, "feelings" I guess. I have accepted this dissociation from everyone I come in contact with, understanding that outside of the work environment there is something profoundly wrong with me. Unless something directly related to the work I don't even bother to make sense of what's said by train masters or conductors. I smile and nod a lot, but it's to make other people comfortable and reassured. I think I used to be human, but now - I'm something different.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you do, you'll end up with a lot more employees like me, and that will be good for managing the company.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Job is awesome, company isn't. They spend $50,000 hiring and training you and $100,000 trying to fire you"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Conductor in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Conductor in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Canadian National Railway full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits and pension, great variety to the job. Able to transfer around Canada. Get to play with the biggest toy set in the world!

    Cons

    Company watches you closely and tries to pin everything on you. Very much can be a hostile environment. Management is super unprofessional when employees make mistakes. On call 24/7 29th no predictability. It's really a lifestyle.

    Advice to Management

    Realize we are not out to screw the company. We just want to make it home safe and sound and put in a good days work. Upper management seems good, but lower management definitely acts differently than they believe


  10. "engineering officer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I have been working at Canadian National Railway full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great hours and steady work

    Cons

    always on the go no rest


  11. Helpful (3)

    "Mechanically Awful"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Mechanic in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Mechanic in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - Great people to work with.
    - Stable job
    - Not to bad of a wage

    Cons

    - Horrible Management
    - Awful Union
    - Lack of formal technical training (proper trade certification)
    - Poor understanding of their own policies and procedures

    Advice to Management

    Stop screwing over the people who are making your system work (workers)



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