CAW Members at VIA Rail Approve New Deals

July 19, 2013, 5:00 PM EST

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CAW members at VIA Rail have voted to approve new agreements by a total of 86 per cent, during a series of meetings across the country spanning several weeks.

The new three-year agreements include wage increases, improved job security for part-time workers, new joint apprenticeship committees and maintaining the defined benefit pension plan.  A new job sharing program has also been negotiated which will allow employees to temporarily share a position, or assignment, to help improve work-life balance, particularly for those frequently away from home. 

The new agreement covers 2,100 CAW members working at VIA Rail in station and onboard customer service and train maintenance.

"Our members make important contributions to keeping VIA Rail moving and we're happy that this agreement acknowledges their work," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "Negotiations cannot solve the problem of chronic underfunding of Canada's transportation networks, such as VIA Rail. Government must step up to ensure that Canada has a viable national railway system that connects communities right across the country, instead of starving our national passenger rail. Canadians, including VIA Rail workers, are looking for leadership on this issue."

The new deals were reached late on June 13 during around the clock negotiations, avoiding a national work stoppage.

CAW members at VIA Rail are covered by three different collective agreements. The breakdown of the ratification results are:

Off-board, station and phone service staff - 83 per cent;
On-board service staff - 88 per cent;
Shopcraft skilled trades maintenance - 86 per cent. 

The CAW and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union will be joining together to create a new Canadian union - Unifor, with the goal of ensuring safer workplaces, secure employment and wages and benefits that provide a decent standard of living. Unifor will hold its founding convention over Labour Day weekend, August 30 - September 1, downtown Toronto.

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