October 21, 2009
CAW opens negotiations with VIA Rail in Ottawa

The CAW has opened contract talks with VIA Rail today in Ottawa, with a goal of reaching a new collective agreement for the three
bargaining units covered by the union contract.

"VIA Rail offers an important service to Canadians, connecting us from coast to coast to coast - but without the work performed by
CAW members, VIA would not be the quality rail line that it is," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "A fair agreement on job security
will be imperative to reaching a new contract."

The current agreement expires on December 31.

"There are real challenges facing our bargaining committees in light of the current restraints crown corporations like VIA Rail are
experiencing," said CAW Council 4000 President Barry Kennedy, representing on and off-board customer service, baggage and
clerical workers. "Nevertheless, we remain optimistic that the experience of our bargaining committees and having the full support
of the union will allow us to negotiate a fair agreement that meets the needs of our membership and VIA."  

"Part of the goal in this round of negotiations will be to secure work for CAW members on maintenance and infrastructure programs
implemented through capital improvement funds that came about in part from lobbying efforts by the CAW to properly fund VIA,"
said CAW Local 100 President John Burns, representing skilled trade’s members working in maintenance. "We believe this work
should not be contracted out, but performed by CAW members who have the necessary skills for the job."  

The CAW represents more than 2,000 workers at VIA in the on-train and clerical services, including ticket vendors and maintenance.  

The CAW National Council 4000 Bargaining Committee is Heather Grant, Secretary-Treasurer of Council 4000, Regional
Representatives Dave Kissack, Danny Andru, Serge Auger and Lou Walsh, Council 4000 President Barry Kennedy, National
Representative Bob Fitzgerald, Assistant to the CAW President Bob Chernecki, and CAW President Ken Lewenza.
Related:

October 8, 2009 -
CAW and VIA Rail set to open talks on a new contract