|Over 100 years together – CAW and its TTR members
The Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) issued a notice to
our CAW membership at Toronto Terminals Railway (TTR) of the
application made by the Labourers International Union of North
America (LIUNA) to certify our membership and become the official
bargaining agent at the expiration of the current collective
agreement on December 31, 2009.
In response to the application made by the Labourers Union, the
CAW (new CAW National Council 4000 President Barry Kennedy,
Council 4000 Regional Representative John Almdal and Local 4003
Vice-President Roy Eagan) met with TTR members on Thursday,
October 15, 2009 at various Toronto worksites. The Union followed
up with a Local membership meeting exclusively for the TTR
membership on Saturday, October 17th at Union Station in Toronto.
Another membership meeting will be held on Saturday, October 24
at Union Station for members to discuss proposals for negotiations
on a new collective agreement.
The CAW has expressed to TTR members that we do not want to lose them as members of our union.
CAW National Council 4000 (first as members of the CBRT&GW then as CAW since 1994) have represented and served the TTR
membership for over 100-years! Consequently, we have a collective agreement that has many benefits due in part to the long and
proud history that we have shared.
There can be little doubt that a potential change of Unions could see the employer – TTR - serve several concessionary demands on
a new Union. As two examples; 1) to rid themselves of the substantial costs associated with the long standing Employment
Security and Income Maintenance Plan (ESIMP) – workers’ protection that is normally found only in main line railway collective
agreements, or, 2) the elimination of the current pension plan which saw significant improvements made during the last round of
negotiations thanks in part to the pension improvements and patterns negotiated at collective bargaining between the CAW and CP
The CAW negotiates working conditions and railway rates of pay based on patterns set by national negotiations with Canada’s
three major railways and the CAW, companies where the CAW has large volumes of members and collective bargaining rights – CN,
CP and VIA Rail. At TTR, this strategy has been successful in part because of the negotiating rights the CAW has with both parent
companies – CN and CP Rail. The Labourers Union does not have these rights or the bargaining history that the CAW has with
these companies. This would serve as a major disadvantage to TTR employees.
The Labourers Union only has collective agreements with small rail contractors. These rail contractors are used at times by the
major rail companies because they are inexpensive. The reason they are inexpensive is because they have lower labour costs –
meaning the wage and benefits of the workers employed by these rail contractors is significantly less.
It would follow that the Labourers Union, who represents these low labour cost contractors, could find themselves in a difficult
situation where your employer may seek to also lower their labour costs to be competitive with the rail contractors, whose
employees LIUNA also represent, thus undercutting railway workers at TTR.
Recently, during the last round of collective bargaining, the CAW negotiated the elimination of Step Rates (21-months to achieve full
rates) in the collective agreement. This resulted in immediate wage increases of 10% and 15% for Track Force members. The
waiting period for Extended Health Care benefits was also eliminated for new hires. In addition to the 3% increase in wages in
each year of the contract, which was in line with other railway workers at CN, CP and VIA, our TTR members received a 6% increase
for Assistant Track Maintenance Foremen and 8% for Track Maintenance Foremen. We also negotiated the new classifications of
Machine Operators Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3.
In our opinion, to end our long standing relationship at this point in time would be a very dangerous and costly move for CAW
members at TTR!
The CAW is the largest and fastest growing private sector Union in Canada. It’s not an “International” or “American” union, but a
true “Canadian Union” that works not only for CAW members, but for Canadians in our fight for social justice in Canada. It is a
Canadian Union that has vast resources that benefit you, as a CAW member at TTR.
Please Stay CAW!
If you are a CAW TTR member, please call us at: 416-861-9508 – or – the CAW Organizing Department at 1-877-495-6551