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VIA Rail Bargaining

VIA Rail train pulls into Belleville station

Unifor Council 4000 and Local 100 opened bargaining with VIA Rail in Montreal on October 25-26, 2019.

Unifor represents maintenance workers, on-board service personnel, chefs, sales agents and customer service staff at VIA Rail.

Members identified a number of key issues in this contract negotiation, including a strengthened pension plan, and end to contracting out, and made-in-Canada fleet sourcing.

The current collective agreements expired on December 31, 2019. No strike vote has been taken.

Check back here for regular updates, or subscribe to RailLine!

Campaign Update

Agreement 3 MOA

4/27/2021 -

Read the VIA Rail Agreement 3 Memorandum of Agreement (PDF).

For questions, or information about ratification, please contact Local 100 Rail Division.

Council 4000 ratifies collective agreement

3/15/2021 -

Unifor Council 4000 has ratified a collective agreement with VIA Rail that builds on gains for the future.

Members voted in favour of the collective agreement with a strong, 93% mandate.

“My congratulations go out to Council 4000, the bargaining committee, and every member who supported their union through this long and difficult round of negotiations,” said Jerry Dias, “Unifor National President. “While the country’s passenger rail service was suddenly left at a stand-still, the committee still negotiated a deal that improves working conditions for all members.”

“It shows the strength of Unifor, that during crisis in passenger rail our union still addressed priorities that members needed to see in this new contract,” said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director. “When rail workers unite with one another, and behind their union, we can make great gains.” 

 “This is a good agreement in truly exceptional times,” said Dave Kissack, Unifor Council 4000 President. “Even while at the bargaining table, we negotiated pandemic wage top-ups, benefits protections, and navigated an unprecedented threats to members’ health and safety. Despite those challenges, we found a path to this contract that members have thrown their support behind.”

The new 2-year contract replaced the collective agreement that expired on December 31, 2019. Highlights include a 2% wage increase for all workers, increased pension contributions for members of the hybrid plan, and new and improved benefits.

Members can review the highlights of the deal and the Memorandum of Settlement for Agreements 1 and 2 on unifor4000.com.

Your bargaining committee is grateful for the support of all members thorough this long and difficult round of negotiations. With this solid foundation, we can continue to build good jobs in rail for years to come.

In solidarity,

Unifor Council 4000 Bargaining Committee

Tentative Agreement Reached

1/30/2021 -

Members,

Your bargaining committee is excited to announce that tentative agreements have been reached on Agreement 1, 2, and 3.

We would like to thank the membership for your continuing show of support. This round of negotiations has faced truly unprecedented challenges, but through our unity and strength, we reached this settlement.

Your bargaining committee unanimously endorses the tentative agreement.

Votes on the collective agreement will be conducted in the coming weeks, information on the voting process will be provided by your Local Union.

No details of the deal will be released to the public in advance of ratification.

This newsletter and the website are your best source for up to date information.

The union does not bargain in public, but we will use these tools to update you as often as possible. We would ask all members to not listen to the Employer for updates, or entertain rumours that may come up during the ratification process. Please reach out to your local union representatives for additional information or with questions. 


 

RailLine Volume 8, Issue 3 - Bargaining Update

1/26/2021 -

Unifor attains settlement on VIA Rail’s concessions – Bargaining moves to economic demands

VIA Rail has agreed to move off their concessionary demands tabled against Council 4000 for the duration of the new collective agreement that we are presently bargaining.  The parties reached an agreement to continue discussions during a closed period between April 1 and June 30, 2021 over disagreements on the application of the Supplemental Agreement relative to part-time and seasonal employees.  These talks will be conducted with the assistance of Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services. 

The Union will now turn its attention to our economic proposals for both Council 4000 and Local 100.  Negotiations will continue on Wednesday, January 27th at the earliest.  We will provide additional updates by the end of next week.

We ask members not to listen to rumours that may be circulating on the bargaining process.  All information, potential actions or decisions the Union may take will be released by the Union at the necessary time on RailLine and Unifor’s national website.

In Solidarity,

Council 4000 and Local 100 VIA Bargaining Committees

Download the PDF

RailLine Volume 8, Issue 2 - Bargaining Update

1/20/2021 -

Members,

This week, Unifor continues negotiations with VIA Rail over the major concessions tabled against Council 4000 members covered under Agreements 1 and 2. The Union bargained over the weekend in efforts to have the Corporation move off their estoppel notices and then open discussions on the economic proposals of both Council 4000 and Local 100 (Agreement 3).

On advice of the Conciliator, both parties agreed to an extension of the conciliation period for Local 100 up to the end of today, January 20, 2021. The Union has requested an additional extension to allow time for further discussions on the concessionary issues relative to Job Security provisions of Council 4000, but VIA has denied our request.

Both Council 4000 and Local 100 have arranged strike committees across the country in the event collective action is necessary.

We remain committed to negotiating the best possible collective agreement for all our 2,400 members at VIA Rail during these challenging times caused by the COVID pandemic.

We will provide further updates as the information is available.

In solidarity,

Council 4000 and Local 100 Bargaining Committees

Download the PDF

RailLine Volume 8, Issue 1 - Bargaining Update

1/8/2021 -

Members,

This past week, your union met VIA Rail at the table, primarily addressing the major concessions tabled against members covered under Agreements 1 and 2.

On advice of the Conciliator, both parties agreed to an extension of the conciliation period for Local 100.

This extension is critical to Local 100 negotiations. The entire monetary package is affected by Agreement 1 and 2 bargaining and by the concessions that the company has levelled against our union sisters and brothers in Council 4000.

Rail workers are stronger together, and Unifor Local 100 and Council 4000 will push back against these concessions with a united front.

A primary focus of the Corporation’s appears to be depriving Council 4000 members of longstanding job security top-ups.

One such concession includes VIA wanting to force the senior laid-off member(s) who are in receipt of Supplementary Unemployment Benefits to perform casual and part-time work and hours when required, which is a breach to the layoff and recall provisions of Agreements 1 and 2.

The collective agreements permit members with the right to refuse recall if the duration of the work for which being recalled is less than 90-days, and/or the work is not within their own job security eligibility territory. This is an infringement of members’ seniority rights and protections. Extra work of intermittent hours should be performed by existing part-time staff or spare board assignments.

You will remember from the last Rail Line that the Union argues that the payment of layoff benefits in these instances is a decades-old practice. These benefits are provided to supplement the Employment Insurance (EI) benefits a member receives, and where VIA pays the difference of the EI and/or outside earnings up to an amount of 80 per cent of the member’s basic weekly rate at the time of layoff.

Your bargaining committees have proposed next week for ongoing negotiations and we await VIA’s response. While we remain committed to negotiating the best possible collective agreement, we will also prepare for possible collective action.

Local 100 and Council 4000 are forming strike committees in all work locations.

The union does not bargain in public, but we will use these tools to update you as often as possible. We would ask all members to not listen to the Employer for updates, or entertain rumours that may come up during the bargaining process. Please reach out to your local union representatives for additional information or with questions.

For Local 100 members, the first step in your support for a stronger contract is to add your name to the growing list of members pledging to stay with Unifor, and say no to the raid by the CSN. Start today by signing your card join.unifor.org/viarail.

Please see below for the updated Schedules for both Local 100 and Council 4000.

Collective Bargaining Process:

Local 100 Dates:

Council 4000 Dates:

Notice of Bargaining

September 3, 2019

September 3, 2019

Notice of Dispute

October 28, 2020

November 27, 2020

Ministerial Decision

November 5, 2020

December 7, 2020

Conciliation

75 days (extended by mutual agreement of parties)

60 days, unless extended by mutual agreement of parties

Termination of Conciliation

January 19, 2021

February 5, 2021

Cooling-off Period

21 days

21 days

Acquisition of right to strike/lockout *

February 9, 2021

February 26, 2021

Mediation

no time limit

No time limit

*Right to strike cannot be exercised until 1) Strike vote is taken, and 2) 72 hour notice is given

In solidarity,

Local 100 and Council 4000 Bargaining Committee

Download the PDF

RailLine Volume 7, Issue 12 - Bargaining Update

12/18/2020 -

Bargaining Update: Friday, December 18, 2020

Members,

This past week, your bargaining committees met VIA Rail at the table, and showed a strong, unified face.

Both groups address the employer’s monetary proposals in detail, with our shared goals and individual needs.

Talks progressed slowly, and major issues continue to stand in the way of a mutual agreement.

Local 100 put a primary focus on a strengthened pension plan for all members, and continues to levy the support of the national union to negotiate the best possible deal.

Council 4000 is in the position of fighting back concessions based on estoppels. Estoppel is a legal defense tool that is applied when a party to the collective agreement reneges or contradicts a previous agreement, but Unifor does not agree with the Company’s assertion or with the concessions.

VIA Rail has served Council 4000 with letters outlining their intention to deny members of the right to weekly layoff benefits provided under the ‘Supplemental Agreement governing Employment Security and Income Maintenance’ in the following circumstances:

  • Members occupying assignments established for “peak level of operations” whom are subsequently laid-off during “off-peak periods”;
  • Members occupying part-time assignments, despite many are scheduled to assigned work hours and routinely work up to 40 hours per week.

The Union argues that the payment of layoff benefits in these instances is a decades-old practice.  These benefits are provided to supplement the Employment Insurance (EI) benefits a member receives, and where VIA pays the difference of the EI and/or outside earnings up to an amount of 80 per cent of the member’s basic weekly rate at the time of layoff.

We are not rushing these negotiations. At this critical time, rail workers deserve the best possible agreement, and that can only be won when we have each other’s backs and fight for what we deserve.

Your bargaining committees have proposed the week of January 4-10, 2021 as additional bargaining dates to continue our negotiations.

The union does not bargain in public, but we will use these tools to update you as often as possible. We would ask all members to not listen to the Employer for updates, or entertain rumours that may come up during the bargaining process. Please reach out to your local union representatives for additional information or with questions.

For Local 100 members, the first step in your support for a stronger contract is to add your name to the growing list of members pledging to stay with Unifor, and say no to the raid by the CSN. Start today by signing your card join.unifor.org/viarail.

Please see below for the Schedules for both Local 100 and Council 4000.

In solidarity,

Local 100 and Council 4000 Bargaining Committees

Collective Bargaining Process:

Local 100 Dates:

Council 4000 Dates:

Notice of Bargaining

September 3, 2019

September 3, 2019

Notice of Dispute

October 28, 2020

November 27, 2020

Ministerial Decision

November 5, 2020

December 7, 2020

Conciliation

60 days, unless extended by mutual agreement of parties

60 days, unless extended by mutual agreement of parties

Termination of Conciliation

January 4, 2021

February 5, 2021

Cooling-off Period

21 days

21 days

Acquisition of right to strike/lockout *

January 25, 2021

February 26, 2021

Mediation

no time limit

No time limit


*Right to strike cannot be exercised until
1)    Strike vote is taken, and
2)    72 hour notice is given

Download the PDF

RailLine Volume 7, Issue 11 - Minister of Labour Appoints Conciliator for Unifor Council 4000 Bargaining with VIA Rail

12/8/2020 -

Last week, Unifor filed a Notice of Dispute with the Federal Minister of Labour requesting the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) in our collective bargaining with VIA Rail on the renewal of Collective Agreements 1 and 2, which covers 1,700 members of Unifor Council 4000. 

On Monday, December 7, the Minister appointed a conciliation officer to the Council 4000 / VIA Rail bargaining table. The chart below outlines the schedule that will be followed through the conciliation process up to the setting of a bargaining deadline:

Collective Bargaining Process:

Council 4000 Dates:

Notice of Bargaining

September 3, 2019

Notice of Dispute

November 27, 2020

Ministerial Decision

December 7, 2020

Conciliation

60 days, unless extended by mutual agreement of parties

Termination of Conciliation

February 5, 2021

Cooling-off Period

21 days

Acquisition of right to strike/lockout *

February 26, 2021

Mediation

No time limit

*The right to strike/lockout cannot be exercised until, 1) a strike vote is taken and 2) 72-hours notice is given

Why choose to file for conciliation?

The conciliation process is intended to assist the parties in resolving their differences.  The conciliation officer has a 60-day mandate, which may be mutually extended between the parties.  At the end of the conciliation period described above, a 21-day cooling off period begins.  During this period, the Minister of Labour may appoint a mediator to continue to assist the parties in reaching an agreement.

Unifor and VIA have scheduled further dates to continue bargaining from December 15 to 18, with the assistance of Federal Conciliation Officer Hélène Madore.  Bargaining will be for both Council 4000 in negotiations for Agreements 1 and 2, and Local 100 for Agreement 3. 

The conciliation process starts the clock for both parties.  For the Union, conciliation is one of the tools we rely on to increase our power at the bargaining table, to set firm dates with the employer and remain strong in our bargaining demands.  During this process, we require the united support of our membership in order to achieve our goals for this round of bargaining.

We will provide an update next week as we go back to the bargaining table.

In solidarity,

The Council 4000 Bargaining Committee

Download the PDF

RailLine Volume 7, Issue 10

12/4/2020 -

Members,

Your bargaining committees are wrapping up a critical week in this round of negotiations.

Together, we tabled common economics proposals for all three collective agreements, as well as non-common economics proposals for Local 100’s agreement 3 and the Council 4000’s Agreements 1 and 2.

The bargaining committees are being supported by Corey Vermey, Unifor’s Director of Pensions and Benefits. Brother Vermey assisted in a dedicated pensions meetings and sat across the table from the company concerning pensions and benefits.

This week, Council 4000 was served estoppel notices by the Company relating to the concessions that VIA Rail is pushing for the Council. Estoppel is a legal defense tool that is applied when a party to the collective agreement reneges or contradicts a previous agreement, but Unifor does not agree with the Company’s assertion or with the concessions.

We have additional dates scheduled December 15-18 where we await the company’s response.

This week made one thing clear, that the two locals are united at the table, and share a common goal of using every strength that we have to bargain a good contract for all members.

For Local 100 members, the first step in your support for a stronger contract is to add your name to the growing list of members pledging to stay with Unifor, and say no to the raid by the CSN. Start today by signing your card join.unifor.org/viarail.

The union does not bargain in public, but we will use these tools to update you as often as possible. We would ask all members to not listen to the Employer for updates, or entertain rumours that may come up during the bargaining process. Please reach out to your local union representatives for additional information or with questions.

Visit www.unifor.org/viarail to read this update online.

In solidarity,

Your VIA Rail Bargaining Committees

Download the PDF

RailLine Volume 7, Issue 9 - Unifor Council 4000 Files Notice of Dispute and Request for Conciliation as Talks Continue

11/30/2020 -

Last week, National Council 4000 continued negotiations with VIA Rail on the renewal of Collective Agreements 1 and 2, which covers the working conditions of 1,700 Unifor members.  The Union has scheduled additional discussions with the Corporation on Wednesday December 2, with the aim of concluding our bargaining on various work rule proposals.

On Friday evening, November 27, the Union filed a Notice of Dispute requesting the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.  The Minister of Labour has 15 days to appoint a conciliator.  The parties have agreed to continue to meet as we await the appointment of a government conciliation officer.

What is Conciliation? The conciliation process is a concise and legal requirement of the Canada Labour Code and provides a 60-day period of conciliation followed by a 21-day “cooling-off” period.  Following the cooling-off period, either party is obligated to provide 72 hours’ notice of intention to initiate a lock out or strike.

This filing does not mark an end to our efforts, but is a show of our commitment to negotiate the best possible deal for members at these challenging times.

On Thursday, December 3, Council 4000 is joining Local 100, which filed for conciliation on October 28, to open discussions on economic issues for all three Unifor Collective Agreements. Together, Unifor members at VIA Rail form a strong resistance to push off concessions that the company has brought to the table with Council 4000.

We will advise the Council 4000 membership once the Minster appoints a conciliator and provide dates of the conciliation process.

In Solidarity,

The Council 4000 Bargaining Committee

Download the PDF

RailLine Volume 7, Issue 8 - Bargaining Update for Council 4000

11/20/2020 -

Dear members,

Council 4000 met with the company the week of November 16th. It is your union’s position that despite the setbacks from COVID-19 and Rail blockades, we are determined to get the best deal possible for all members.

There are still considerable concessionary demands on the table from the corporation. Your union is working hard to remove them and is cautiously optimistic as there has been steady but slow progress. Council 4000 is also working on work rules to better enhance work/life balance including, but not limited to, rest and working conditions. Please be aware there is a host of demands on each side that needs to be individually thoroughly discussed, so it is a slow but necessary process. Monetary demands will be discussed later in the bargaining process.

The union is scheduled to bargain again next week. We will update you after each bargaining session.

While the union does not bargain in public, we will use tools to update you as often as possible. We would ask all members to not listen to the employer for updates, or entertain rumours that may come up during the bargaining process.

In solidarity,
Your VIA Rail Bargaining Committee

Download the PDF

RaiLine Volume 7, Issue 7 - Bargaining Update for Council 4000 and Local 100

11/13/2020 -

Bargaining Update for Council 4000 and Local 100

Dear members,

Both groups met with the company this week, amassing the strength of 2,100 maintenance workers, on-board service personnel, chefs, sales agents and customer service staff at the bargaining table.

Your bargaining committee is not pulling any punches, and is back at the table now to get the best deal possible for all members.

Council 4000 is engaging in frank and honest conversations with the company, with progress on rules and primary issues for Agreement 1 and 2 moving more slowly than expected. The company has dug in on a matter concerning employment security, and the bargaining committee is pushing back.

Your bargaining committee is fighting for all members at the table, and will not back down from these frustrating but necessary conversations. Bargaining is set to continue next week, beginning on Monday, November 16, 2020.

Local 100 met with the company and a conciliator this week, and made significant progress, completing bargaining on all working rules. With bargaining dates set for December 1-4, the bargaining committee is optimistic and motivated to begin conversations on monetary items.

This round of negotiations has been long, and has spanned events that no one could have anticipated, but the resolve and success of your bargaining team has not wavered.

Unifor negotiated the 70% top-up and benefits continuation during the pandemic, in the midst of negotiations and while employers across the country were sending workers home to rely on Employment Insurance. And, when the top-ups were banned by the federal government, Unifor and our 315,000 members, took action to demand change from the Minister.

As negotiations for both groups get closer to a critical time, Unifor’s rail members have to stick together.

For Local 100 members, the first step in your support for a stronger contract is to add your name to the growing list of members pledging to stay with Unifor, and say no to the raid by the CSN. Start today by signing your card join.unifor.org/viarail.

For members of Council 4000, we need your voices as well. Stay connected with your locals, and be ready for mobilization.

The union does not bargain in public, but we will use these tools to update you as often as possible. We would ask all members to not listen to the Employer for updates, or entertain rumours that may come up during the bargaining process. Please reach out to your local union representatives for additional information or with questions.

Visit www.unifor.org/viarail to read this update online.

In solidarity,

Your VIA Rail Bargaining Committees

Download the PDF

RailLine Vol. 7 Issue 6 - Unifor Local 100 Bargaining Set to Resume, and Conciliation Process Explained

11/10/2020 -

Unifor Local 100 Bargaining Set to Resume, and Conciliation Process Explained

Local 100 is going back to the bargaining table with VIA Rail, along with a federal conciliation officer. Our next round of negotiations with the company is scheduled for November 10-13.

What is Conciliation?
The conciliation process is a concise and legal requirement of the Canadian Labour Code and provides a 60-day period of conciliation followed by a 21-day “cooling off” period. Following the cooling off period, either party is obligated to provide 72 hours’ notice of intention to initiate a lock out or strike.


Our desire always is to reach a negotiated settlement without a dispute, and setting of a deadline that coincides with the best timing possible is an important element of the bargaining process. This is no different an approach than we have taken in prior rounds of bargaining.


On Thursday, November 5, the Federal Minister appointed conciliation officers to the Unifor bargaining table. The chart below outlines the schedule that will be followed through the conciliation process up to the setting of a deadline.

Collective Bargaining Process:

Dates:

Notice of Bargaining

September 3, 2019

Notice of Dispute

October 28, 2020

Ministerial Decision

November 5, 2020

Conciliation

60 days, unless extended by mutual agreement of parties

Termination of Conciliation

January 4, 2021

Cooling-off Period

21 days

Acquisition of right to strike / lockout *

January 25, 2021

Mediation

no time limit


*Right to strike cannot be exercised until
1)    Strike vote is taken, and
2)    72 hour notice is given

Why choose to file for conciliation?
Next week’s negotiations, beginning with the clock ticking on the conciliation period, put our union in a stronger position to negotiate the gains that members are united behind in this round of negotiations. This means pushing ahead in the fight for a stronger pension.


Moving forward in this conciliation process is one of the tools we have as a union to increase our power at the bargaining table, to set firm dates with the employer and remain strong in our demands. We need the united support of members in order to achieve these goals.

How can members help secure a better contract?  
The first step in your support for a stronger contract is to add your name to the growing list of members pledging to stay with Unifor, and say no to the raid by the CSN. Start today by requesting your card join.unifor.org/viarail.


If you want to get more information or get involved in the campaign to Stay with Unifor, contact us at any time.

Simon Moreau, simonlocal100@hotmail.com 514-588-0338
Zoltan Czippel, zoltanunifor100@gmail.com 604-226-5509
Patrick Murray, Patrick.murray@unifor.org 506-850-7996
André Hachey, Andre.Hachey@unifor.org 514-554-5941
 

In solidarity,

Local 100 Bargaining Committee

Download PDF

Bargaining Update: Local 100 VIA Rail

10/23/2020 -
Dear members,
 
Your bargaining committee has bargained all day during 8 of the last 10 days, and we’re pleased to report significant progress with the company. 
 
The committee has been focussed on Rules and VIA Rail’s corridor fleet replacement program. If this good bargaining progress continues, we will finalize contract Rules during the early stage of our next session scheduled for the week of November 2, after which we will focus on Local 100 members’ top economic priorities pension, wages, and benefits.  
 
We will have more to report during November’s session. As previously mentioned, resist the temptation to use the employer as a source of information about bargaining—they have their own goals and objectives with their communications. 
 
It is your bargaining committee that is solely focussed on the best interests of all Local 100 members. We are working hard to achieve the best possible contract.
 
Never hesitate to contact your local union representatives for additional information or with questions.
 
Thanks again for your support. Unity is the key to our strength at the bargaining table.

Bargaining Update: Local 100 VIA Rail

10/15/2020 -

Dear members,

Your Bargaining Committee has been at the virtual bargaining table with VIA Rail from Wednesday to Friday this week.

We are encouraged to be bargaining once more, after many sessions in the spring and fall were interrupted or delayed because of the pandemic and the second wave in Quebec.

Our bargaining is now taking place with committee members and national staff tuning in from their homes across the country. We are uniting, representing Local 100’s far-reaching geography and our shared goals.

Progress remains slow but positive, as we work through the Rules in our contract.

We will be back at the bargaining table from Monday to Friday of next week, and look forward to making continued progress on behalf of all members.

The union does not bargain in public, but we will use these tools to update you as often as possible. We would ask all members to not listen to the Employer for updates, or entertain rumours that may come up during the bargaining process. Please reach out to your local union representatives for additional information or with questions.

We would like to thank the membership for their continuing show of support.

In solidarity,

Local 100 VIA Rail Bargaining Committee

VIA Rail Bargaining Update #5

10/6/2020 -

Following pandemic struggles, VIA Rail bargaining to re-start with virtual meetings

Unifor Local 100 and Council 4000 are set to re-start negotiations with VIA Rail following months of crisis management throughout the first and now second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local 100 virtual bargaining is scheduled for next week, from October 14-16 and October 19-23.  Unifor Council 4000 is in talks with VIA on scheduling a return to the bargaining table at the end of October and/or beginning of November.

Previously scheduled dates this spring were cancelled as the pandemic took hold of our communities and workplaces, then in-person dates were postponed once again in September as cases of COVID-19 rose once again.

The priority of the union continues to be both the immediate health and safety, and income protection of members, as well as the long-term fight for a fair contract that better serves all members.

Bargaining will not be delayed again. All currently scheduled dates will be hosted virtually, to ensure participation without unnecessary risk. 

Unifor will update all members on the status of negotiations following, or during these rounds. This newsletter and the website are your best source for up to date information. 

The union does not bargain in public, but we will use these tools to update you as often as possible. We would ask all members to not listen to the Employer for updates, or entertain rumours that may come up during the bargaining process. Please reach out to your local union representatives for additional information or with questions. 

We would like to thank the membership for their continuing show of support.

Visit www.unifor.org/viarail to read and share this update online.

VIA Rail Bargaining Update #4

2/5/2020 -

Unifor continued its negotiations with Canada's national passenger rail provider, VIA Rail Canada, the week of January 28-31.  Both Unifor bargaining committees, National Council 4000 (1,600 members servicing Agreements 1 & 2) and Local 100 (600 members servicing Agreement 3), met with the Crown corporation last week in Montreal.

Both committees discussed a variety of work rule issues that cover the working conditions of our 2,200 Unifor members who work across Canada. Both committees report that talks to this point have been slow but constructive.

Council 4000 has expressed concerns over excessive part-time work, assignments and hours, while Local 100 continues to address the Fleet Replacement Program that will see VIA introduce 32 new trainsets for use in Quebec and Ontario.  The Union is working to ensure that the repairs and maintenance of this new fleet continues to be performed by Local 100 members.  Both bargaining committees remain determined to bargain the best agreement possible and are working hard to secure gains for all members.

We will continue to keep members informed as the information is available.  The union does not bargain in public, but we will use these tools to update you as often as possible.  We would ask all members to not listen to the Employer for updates, or entertain rumours that may come up during the bargaining process.  Please reach out to your local union representatives for additional information or with questions.  This newsletter and the website are your best source for up to date information.  Visit www.unifor.org/viarail to read and share this update online.

Negotiations will continue as follows:

Council 4000

February 24-28 in Montreal

March 23-27 in Moncton

Local 100

March 16-20 in Montreal

We would like to thank the membership for their continuing show of support.

In solidarity,

Unifor VIA Rail Bargaining Committees
Council 4000 & Local 100

VIA Rail Bargaining Update # 3

12/10/2019 -

Dear Members,

The Unifor Council 4000 VIA bargaining committee met with VIA Rail December 3-5 in Montreal to continue negotiations on the renewal of Collective Agreements No. 1 and 2.

Talks focused on part-time workers, including the Union’s position that the Corporation is misusing the intent of part-time provisions in the collective agreements.

Bargaining for Council 4000 will recommence sometime in late January or early February. You will be notified of future dates once those are agreed upon with the Company.

Local 100 has bargaining dates set for January 28-31 in Montreal.

Your working conditions will not be affected as the collective agreements expire on December 31, 2019. The Bargaining Committee remains determined to bargain the best agreement possible and is working hard to secure gains for all members.

This newsletter and the website are your best source for up to date information. We would like to thank the membership for their continuing show of support.

Best wishes from your union for a safe Holiday Season, and a Happy New Year.

Click here to read, print, or share this update (PDF).

VIA Rail Bargaining Update # 2

11/12/2019 -

Unifor Council 4000 and Local 100 met with VIA Rail in Montreal this week to continue bargaining.

Both committees continued to resolve outstanding grievances.

We then proceeded to exchange proposals with the Company and discussed work rules. We will
continue to work diligently to secure a fair contract for all members.

We reiterate that members identified a number of key issues in this contract negotiation, including a
strengthened pension plan, an end to contracting out, made-in-Canada fleet sourcing, part time and
work/rest rules.

Bargaining for Council 4000 will continue in the first week of December in Montreal and Local 100
will meet with the Company again during the last week of January in Montreal.

The Bargaining Committee remains determined to bargain the best agreement possible and is
working hard to secure gains for all members.

We would like to thank the membership for your continuing show of support.

This newsletter and the website are your best source for up to date information.

The union does not bargain in public, but we will use these tools to update you as often as possible.

We would ask all members to not listen to the Employer for updates, or entertain rumors that may
come up during the bargaining process. Please reach out to your local union representatives for
additional information or with questions.

Click here to read, print, or share this update (PDF).

VIA Rail Bargaining Update # 1

10/31/2019 -

Unifor Council 4000 and Local 100 opened bargaining with VIA Rail in Montreal on October 25-26 as contracts near expiration for more than 2,000 members.

The opening included introductions and an exchange of proposals, and significant progress in the resolution of outstanding grievances. Your bargaining committees will continue to work diligently to secure a fair contract for all members.

Members identified a number of key issues in this contract negotiation, including a strengthened pension plan, improvements to rest provisions and sick days, an end to contracting out, and made-in-Canada fleet sourcing.

“Unifor members are looking forward to delivering the highest quality service for passengers today, and through the next generation of rail infrastructure. These bargaining teams are experienced, and ready to represent workers in the fight for a fair contract.” 

Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

“As we look toward a greener future with increased use of passenger rail, Unifor’s goal is to ensure that jobs in the sector remain good jobs with fair pay, decent benefits, and a dignified retirement.”

Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director.

Unifor represents maintenance workers, on-board service personnel, chefs, sales agents and customer service staff at VIA Rail. The current collective agreements expire on December 31, 2019. No strike votes have been taken.

Bargaining and grievance resolution meetings will continue November 5-8 in Montreal. The Bargaining Committee remains determined to bargain the best agreement possible and is working hard to secure gains for all members.

This newsletter and the website are your best source for up to date information.

The union does not bargain in public, but we will use these tools to update you as often as possible. We would ask all members to not listen to the Employer for updates, or entertain rumours that may come up during the bargaining process. Please reach out to your local union representatives for additional information or with questions.

We would like to thank the membership for their continuing show of support.

Click here to read, print, or share this update (PDF).

Benefits Canada: VIA Rail, Unifor collective bargaining includes strengthening pension plan

10/31/2019 -

Unifor locals representing VIA Rail Canada Inc. employees have opened bargaining in Montreal as contracts are set to expire for more than 2,000 members. Members identified a number of key issues for contract negotiation, including a strengthened pension plan, according to a press release.

“Members at VIA Rail have a two-tiered pension plan, awarded by the arbitrator and argued for by the company,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president, in an email to Benefits Canada. “Employees hired before 2014 contribute to a defined benefit plan, which is in surplus. The benefit is 1.7 per cent up to the [year’s maximum pensionable earnings] and two per cent above the YMPE times their years of credited service to a maximum of 35 years. Members contribute 8.2 per cent up to the YMPE and nine per cent above the YMPE towards their pension.”

“While these differences in benefits are already vastly unfair, additional changes add insult to injury,” he said. “The so-called hybrid plan eliminates pre-retirement spousal benefits, puts conditions on indexation and prevents any transfers or lump-sum payments to the DC side of the plan.”

Article (English only) https://www.benefitscanada.com/news/via-rail-unifor-collective-bargaining-includes-strengthening-pension-plan-137925