|Update on negotiations between the CAW and VIA Rail
|From May 28th through May 31st, the CAW VIA Rail Bargaining Committees met with VIA Rail in Toronto for a fourth week of negotiations on a new labour deal.
The two sides have spent significant time discussing work rules. While the talks continue to be positive, VIA remains slow to respond. Of particular
importance are the hours of work language in all three collective agreements. Rest at the away from home terminal is a major concern for Council 4000
members of Agreement No. 2.
Further bargaining dates are scheduled for the weeks of June 25th and July 16th, with the assistance of Federal Conciliation officers.
VIA Rail brought its consultant from Mercer to make a presentation on benefits, who argued that the Group Benefit costs have risen 43% since 2001. To that
end, VIA proposed a “Flex Benefit Plan,” arguing that members should be required to pay the increase in future benefit costs beyond negotiated settlements. In
other words, any increase in future benefit costs would only be paid by the Corporation up to the wage settlement. Thus, if the wage settlement was 3%,
employees would be required to pay the increases beyond the 3%. Given that the Union’s position is that VIA add a Long Term Disability Plan to the current
benefit plan, the parties remain far apart on the issue of benefits. We clearly told VIA that we were not interested in their Flex Plan.
VIA is seeking other changes in the current agreement and the parties have had significant discussion around lock-in periods following training in Agreements
No. 1 (CAW Council 4000) and Agreement No. 3 (CAW Local 100). The CAW continues to argue that its VIA Rail membership is behind CN and CP in wages,
pensions and other areas in benefits. Several issues require additional research by both the CAW and VIA Rail and both sides have agreed that no items will
be finalized until an overall agreement is reached.
The deadline for negotiations will be Sunday, July 22 at 12:01 a.m. local time. The union will be holding strike votes in the weeks leading up to the deadline. In
most locations, the strike vote process will start on July 3rd. The Union will keep you informed through CAW Railfax as well as on this website
(cawcouncil4000.com) of any additional information regarding CAW negotiations with VIA. Your bargaining committee remains determined to reach a
settlement without a dispute, but there are difficult issues that must be resolved during this round of negotiations.
If you have any questions concerning negotiations, please rely on your bargaining committee member only and your support is fundamental to reaching a solid