Canadian National Railway Reviews in Edmonton, AB | Glassdoor

Canadian National Railway Edmonton Reviews

Updated October 11, 2017
35 reviews

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Edmonton, AB, Canada Area (Canada)

2.5
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Canadian National Railway President and Chief Executive Officer Luc Jobin
Luc Jobin
3 Ratings

35 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • There is no work/life balance on the railroad (in 18 reviews)

  • if you are a contracted employee, hard to get in with no benefits but all the long hours (in 21 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Good pay and benefits. You're just a number."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Electrician in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Electrician 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

    Good pay and benefits. Lots of different ethnic backgrounds which makes it easy to make lots of new friends.

    Cons

    You're just a number. They don't care about your home life.

    Advice to Management

    Talk to your employees. Try reasoning and meeting in the middle.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "The real truth about CN rail"

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

    I have been working at Canadian National Railway full-time

    Pros

    Pay if you have seniority
    Good co workers
    Great pension and benefits
    Only 8 hour shifts in the yard which is nice if your use to working oilfield.

    Cons

    Weird hours
    No way to plan anything out

    So when you go through training they send you to Winnipeg for 7 weeks. It's not to bad, decent hotel and they give you 3 meals a day which aren't the best but do the trick. You get paid horribly for 6 months ( the recruiter will tell you it's only while your in school but it's actually 5-6 months till you qualify) it's 900$ a weeks. Just be prepared for the horrible shifts/ hours you'll work if your in a big terminal like Edmonton of Winnipeg. If you hire onto places like jasper or Roma junction you'll have lots of road trips instead of yard. They day rate once you qualify is 310$ a day. CN matches your pension up to 6% of your pay. And if you put in 35 years they give you about 65,000$ a year for pension.

    Advice to Management

    Relax it's just a job.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "not the best not the worst"

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

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

    Pros

    job security, benefits,stock options, good wage, good pension.

    Cons

    shift work, low safety standards, very bad management, outdated equipment and practices, culture of fear, lack of communication, no value to employees.

    Advice to Management

    communicate to your employees more, stop spreading a culture of fear, show more respect to your employees.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Wow..."

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

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

    Pros

    High pay good pension and benefits with stock options for non management

    Teamsters union for running trades

    Cons

    Management that shoots first asks questions later
    Will fire employees for minor offences to teach them a lesson (union will get you your job back)
    Managers who will provide false statements so you are disciplined
    Hours
    No family life

    Advice to Management

    Discipline managers who routinely break the law or harass members.


  5. "Hard. Stressful. Well Paid."

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

    Pros

    Good money, trains can be fun. Can be very rewarding at times, and banks love to see it. Ok benefits package.

    Cons

    Pressure, long shifts, odd hours. Basically a contractor to the company via the Union. Not a lot of choice in how your schedule looks. Not much for vacation.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "the money is decent, no leadership though"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Forman"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

  8. Helpful (6)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  9. Helpful (3)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Transportation"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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!


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