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July 23, 2007
 
VIA Leadership unanimously supports new agreement
The tentative agreement reached by the CAW National Bargaining Committee and VIA Rail early Saturday morning has received the unanimous support of the
local and national leadership who gathered in Montreal today to review it.  The agreement also enjoys the full support of the 15-person CAW bargaining
committee.

With an overwhelming strike vote of over 93 per cent and the full support of the members, your bargaining committee worked around the clock to negotiate an
agreement that would see improvements in wages, benefits and conditions and prevent a stoppage in rail service.

The two sides came to an agreement after VIA’s demands for concessions in wages and healthcare benefits were fought back by the union.  Negotiations
began back in October and re-convened in Montreal from July 16 -22.

“We expect our members to be very pleased with this settlement,” said CAW Local 100 President Bryon DeBaets.  “We’re particularly proud of the provincially
regulated apprenticeship program – a first ever for VIA.”

The new three-year agreement includes a three per cent wage increase in each year, a new long-term disability (LTD) plan, improvements in all areas of
benefits, engineer and bilingual training and a new apprenticeship program for the skilled trades/maintenance workers.

“For the last 21 years, we have been fighting to get changes made to the work rules and with this new agreement we have been able to do that, while staying
true to the pattern set on other railways,” said CAW National Council 4000 President Bob Fitzgerald.

The agreement is closely modeled after the January 2007 agreement with CN Rail.  The previous VIA collective agreement expired in December. The new
agreement will be retroactive from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2009.

“This tentative agreement recognizes the incredible efforts of our members in the work they do day to day in ensuring the best possible service to Canadians
across the country at VIA,” said Assistant to CAW National President, Bob Chernecki.

“The bargaining committee faced enormous challenges in this round of bargaining and have delivered a first-rate collective agreement that now enjoys the
unanimous endorsement of the elected leadership at VIA,” said Chernecki.

“Our union remains committed to ensuring that governments no matter what stripe must fund this important passenger rail system that links our country
together.”

Ratification meetings will begin tomorrow and will wrap up by August 10.  

The CAW represents 2,600 workers at VIA in the on-train services, clerical, including ticket vendors and maintenance.

Source:  CAW Railfax
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