June 21, 2013
Volume 43, No. 24
CAW Reaches Tentative Deal with VIA Rail
A tentative collective agreement was reached between the CAW and VIA Rail on June 7, following days of tense, round-the-clock negotiations in Montreal, Quebec.
"We're very pleased to have reached a tentative deal with VIA Rail," said Bob Orr, Assistant to the CAW National President. "This has been a long and emotional process for our master bargaining committee. We've spent days engaged in very tense bargaining on issues most important to members and we're happy to have settled this contract without a labour disruption."
CAW Council 4000 Secretary-Treasurer Heather Grant said the union always expected these negotiations to be difficult, but were committed to reaching a settlement that was fair.
"VIA Rail is undergoing a major modernization program and we wanted to ensure that workers, the company's most important asset, weren't left behind," Grant said.
CAW Local 100 President Ken Hiatt commended the master bargaining committee for their hard work in reaching a tentative settlement.
"Forty-eight hours ago, we honestly didn't think we'd get to this point. But we were determined to make this work, for the good of our members and VIA passengers," Hiatt said.
Details of the tentative settlement will be made public upon ratification of the deal.
The CAW represents more than 2000 customer service, on-board service and maintenance workers at VIA Rail across Canada.
CAW Local 599 Receives Mine Safety Award
Workers from Xstrata Copper Kidd Operations in Timmins Ontario were awarded the John T. Ryan award for 2012.
Workers from Xstrata Copper Kidd Operations in Timmins Ontario were awarded the John T. Ryan award for 2012 at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum Convention on May 6.
Workers at the Kidd Metallurgical site are represented by CAW Local 599.
Trophies are awarded by the Institute to the metalliferous mine, the select mine and the coal mine which in the previous year experienced the lowest reportable injury frequency per 200,000 hours worked in Canada.
The CAW congratulates the Metsite Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee for all their efforts to create Zero Harm workplaces that deliver improved health and safety.
University of Sudbury Workers Land New Three-Year Agreement
Workers at the University of Sudbury ratified a new collective agreement on Tuesday June 18. The workers, members of CAW local 598, are administration assistants, library assistance, clerks, communications staff, teaching assistants, IT staff and custodians at the university.
The deal, reached after only two days of bargaining, included no concessions, improvements to agreement language, an increase to benefits and an eight per cent increase to wages over the three years of the agreement.
"We are glad to have received such a strong agreement for our members in such a short period of time," said CAW local 598 president Richard Paquin.
"We knew that our members needed to see an increase to wages in the face of ongoing austerity measures and we fought hard to achieve this," said unit chair Rachel Kenwell.
CAW local 598 represents 17 workers at the University of Sudbury. The members voted 82 per cent in favour of the agreement.
New Deal for Members at Pratt & Whitney
Workers at Pratt & Whitney Canada have ratified a new three year collective agreement on June 16. The workers, members of CAW local 510, manufacture and service engines for airplanes and helicopters in the Pratt & Whitney plant in Longueuil, Quebec.
"In what was a highly strategic bargaining round, our committee helped encourage investments in the future of our plants while meeting member expectations," said Camille Larochelle, unit chair at local 510.
"I have every confidence in the future, as this agreement gives us the necessary tools to demonstrate that Quebec workers have everything it takes to respond to advanced technological change," said Larochelle.
The new agreement includes wage improvements as well as enhancements to dental and vision care. The union also maintained an early-retirement program for members at the facility, and increased employer contributions to the existing pension plan.
A new wage progression has also been established for future hires. The new progression brings workers up to the top rate of pay after 5 years.
Members voted 91 per cent in favour of the new agreement.
CAW Recognizes National Aboriginal People's Day
The following is an excerpt from the CAW statement on National Aboriginal Peoples Day, June 21, 2013:
The CAW is proud to extend solidarity to Aboriginal Peoples on June 21st - the summer solstice that has for centuries been recognized as a day to celebrate Aboriginal heritage.
We recognize the strength and determination of our Aboriginal sisters and brothers in the fight for social, economic and environmental justice - a fight that we proudly join.
Land treaties between Canadian settlers and First People continue to be undermined, hundreds of years after being signed. These treaties represent a commitment to protect the economic self-sufficiency and cultural independence of Aboriginal Peoples and must be respected.
Treaties, like collective agreements, are only as strong as the resolve of those who fight to defend them. They're only as strong as the communities that stand behind them. Treaties, like collective agreements, are a tool giving voice to the powerless and the oppressed - they allow us to stand, as a community of interests, toe-to-toe with those who wield the greatest power and influence. When we strengthen our collective resolve to uphold treaty rights, we also strengthen our resolve to uphold union contracts.
It's time for our federal government to take meaningful and measurable steps to implement the United Nation's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. On National Aboriginal Peoples' Day, the CAW demands that the federal government develop a real plan of action - working with Aboriginal communities and leadership - to address critical issues like violence against Aboriginal women and girls, access to education and jobs, skills development, health care, housing and access to safe drinking water.
To read the full statement visit: www.caw.ca/en/7578.htm.
Lewenza Awarded Honourary Degree at University of Windsor
CAW National President Ken Lewenza, shown here with his mother Marilyn Lewenza, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws on June 14 at the University of Windsor. Lewenza was recognized with five other high profile Canadians who are leaders in their respective fields.
Lewenza credited the CAW and other unions for the strong presence of the university in Windsor. "We have fought for decent wages and benefits for our members, the working people of Windsor that have allowed workers to send their children to university, in a way that just wasn't possible decades ago," said Lewenza.
CAW Welcomes New Members
- Kingston Interval House, Kingston, ON, 34 members
- Inteva Products Canada Inc., Whitby, ON, 4 members
- Vast Auto Distribution Ontario Ltd., Brampton, ON, 33 members
- Doug Coleman Trucking Ltd., various Ontario locations, 122 members
- Pleasant Manor Retirement Village, St. Catharines, ON, 87 members