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RailLine Volume 9, Issue 1

Via Rail Bargaining Update #2


Bargaining between Unifor Council 4000 and Local 100 with VIA Rail opened up virtually on January 17, 2022.

Contracts for more than 2,000 members expired on December 31, 2021. The two local unions will bargain separately.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias says, “Members should have the utmost faith in their bargaining teams who are experienced and skilled. They have been working diligently throughout the pandemic and ensured a fair contract was negotiated for all in 2020-2021.”

VIA Rail negotiations open virtually, covering 2,000 members in rail

Bargaining between Unifor Council 4000 and Local 100 with VIA Rail opened up virtually on January 17, 2022.

“Members should have the utmost faith in their bargaining teams who are experienced and skilled,” Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Our members have been working diligently throughout the pandemic and ensured a fair contract was negotiated for all in 2020-2021.”

In the year since the signing of the last agreement, Unifor members in rail continued to work while keeping travellers safe, comfortable and delivering a high quality mode of transportation.

VIA Rail talks begin virtually for 2000 members

MONTREAL — Bargaining between Via Rail and Unifor Locals representing 2000 members opened up virtually on January 17, 2022.

“Members should have the utmost faith in their bargaining teams who are experienced and skilled,” Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Our members have been working diligently throughout the pandemic and ensured a fair contract was negotiated for all in 2020-2021.”

Unifor and PPWC reach pattern deal with Canfor

PRINCE GEORGE-Two of the country’s largest pulp and paper unions, Unifor and the Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC), have reached a tentative deal with Canfor that establishes the pattern for Western Canadian forestry.

Unifor joins multi-party call to address Ontario hospital crisis

Unifor leaders joined health care union leaders and opposition party leaders in Ontario to demand urgent action on the crisis in hospitals in a virtual news conference on January 10. 

The emergency summit was convened by Ontario Liberal leader Stephen Del Duca, and included Unifor Assistant to the President Katha Fortier and Health Care Director Andy Savela.

Flexibility on truck retirement deadline needed to avert port gridlock

VANCOUVER—The controversial plan to force hundreds of container trucks out of the Metro Vancouver port transportation system will cause chaos in a system already under unique pressure from the pandemic, flooding, and supply chain issues, says Unifor.

“Without action from Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, gridlock will overtake Vancouver’s ports,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Millions of British Columbians rely on the efficient operation of their ports. Ignoring the issue has only made matters worse.”

Locked-out members unanimously reject offer

JOLIETTE, QUEBEC – Members of the production and office units of Unifor Local 177 have unanimously rejected a management offer presented at a recent union meeting.

The employer’s offer came in the wake of a bargaining blitz held in the days leading up to Christmas. Unfortunately, the parties were unable to reach a tentative agreement at that time, mainly because of the employer’s continuing demands for concessions deemed unacceptable to the workers.

Bus drivers deserve same COVID protections as education workers

TORONTO – Keeping children, education workers and the community safe when some students return to class this week starts with the buses that provide transport to Ontario schools, says Canada’s top school bus driver union.

“Keeping schools safe for students, staff, and for their families when they return home, means full protections for all involved - from the time students board the bus, until the time they get home,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias says.

Grocery execs paid millions while denying pandemic pay to workers

TORONTO – Top executives at Canada’s grocery giants have been paid millions in bonuses while continuing to deny pandemic pay to frontline essential grocery workers. 

“These same executives took away $2 an hour pandemic pay from their workers after only a few weeks of the first wave back in June 2020,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “The CEO’s and top execs continue to reap the rewards of COVID-19 boosted sales while their workers face the risks to keep food on the table for Canadians.”

Happy Holidays from Unifor

2021 has been a year of challenges and triumphs and once again, thanks to your unwavering solidarity our union persevered. Watch Jerry Dias’s video message to our Unifor family and stay safe.

Unifor donates $135,000 to food banks

As families across Canada continue to struggle to put food on the table, a situation made harder by both the pandemic and the holiday season, Unifor is donating $135,000 to 48 food banks across Canada

“People are in need, and we hope these donations help address that need,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.

“The reality is, we shouldn’t need food banks in the first place. Families rely on food banks because they have no other options.”

Sarnia long-term care workers call for community support

Long-term care workers at Sarnia’s Trillium Villa Nursing Home rallied and called on their community for support on Wednesday as part of escalating actions across southwestern Ontario after talks with employers broke down.

Unifor members at Port of Vancouver ratify pattern agreement

Container truckers at Aheer Transportation and Prudential Transportation overwhelmingly ratified a pattern agreement avoiding a potential strike at Canada’s largest port. 

The agreement helps Unifor truckers achieve some the best wages and benefits at the port.

“Unifor’s pattern agreement has set the standard in Metro Vancouver’s container trucking industry for years,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Truckers deserve an agreement that reflects their significant contribution to our economy.”

Unifor’s holiday message hand-delivered to MPs in iPolitics magazine

All Unifor wants this season is for the federal government to cooperate and get the important things done. Why not start with the commitments you have in common?   

That’s Unifor’s message to Prime Minister Trudeau, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and all MPs and Senators, hand-delivered as a feature in this quarter’s iPolitics print magazine. 

Workers in Canada need a reliable, stable government to deliver on the shared goals that were set out in the 2021 federal election.

SGS Canada workers ratify new deal

Unifor Local 672 SGS Canada Inc. workers voted 89% to ratify a new three-year collective agreement Dec. 14, 2021 in Sarnia, Ont.

“Congratulations to Local 672,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The bargaining team needs to be applauded for never wavering on their principles and negotiating a solid collective agreement for the membership.”

SGS Canada provides inspection, verification, testing and certification services for industrial enterprises on a contract basis.

Hospitality and Gaming Industry Council reviews bargaining achievements and challenges ahead

Unifor’s hospitality and gaming sector met virtually this past week to review the sector’s accomplishments and remaining economic challenges.

“Unifor warned that the hospitality and gaming sector would be hit first, hit hardest and take the longest to recover,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias told the council. “Sadly, what we predicted proved all too accurate.”

For the first year of COVID-19, virtually every gaming sector worker in the country was laid off. At hotels and restaurants, lay off rates were between 80% and 100%.

Happy Holidays and Save the Date

To: Local union presidents, recording secretaries, treasurers, NEB, national staff

Re: A holiday message to our Unifor family

We can hardly believe that it is mid-December and that 2021 is about to come to a close. We have all had a busy, tiring, eventful year that was full of both challenges and victories.

As we end another year under the cloud of this pandemic, we reflect on our new normal and the many ways your unwavering solidarity persevered. Workers fought back this year, and in many cases, they won.

RailLine Volume 8, Issue 10

VIA Rail Bargaining Update #1

Dear Members,

Unifor Council 4000 and Local 100 will open bargaining with VIA Rail in Montreal on January 17, 2022, with bargaining scheduled throughout the week.

Unifor kicks off federal lobby week to build better EI

OTTAWA – Unifor is kicking off a weeklong federal lobby to communicate urgent repairs needed to fix Canada’s broken Employment Insurance (EI) system.

“There is no time to waste when it comes to fixing EI. Workers across the country are running out of benefits and running into barriers with a program that seems more determined to punish them instead of help them,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

Social Justice Fund donates $158k to women’s shelters in Canada

To mark the 32nd anniversary of the Montreal Massacre and the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6, Unifor – through its Social Justice Fund – donated $2,000 to 79 shelters across Canada, totalling $158,000.

“Local shelters provide life-saving assistance as frontline providers of crisis services to women and children who are living with domestic violence,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

Media sector pushes for Netflix and Facebook bills

Unifor members from the media sector have been meeting online with Members of Parliament, including Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, pushing the need for big tech firms to pay their fair share to support local news. 

“Journalism is vital to the functioning of our democracy, and yet the entire sector is in crisis as big tech firms claim 90% of digital ad dollars,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias, who led the delegation meeting with Rodriguez.

“There has been a lot of talk, but now is the time for action.”

Unifor’s Dec. 6 vigil sparks a renewed call to action

Thirty-two years ago, they were training to be chemical and mechanical engineers and nurses. One was a budget clerk at École Polytechnique's finance department.

During Unifor’s online vigil, held December 6, 2021 – the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Elimination of Violence Against Women – the names of the 13 students and one worker at École Polytechnique were read aloud to remember the horrific gender-based violent massacre in 1989.

“They were killed simply because they were women,” said Lisa Kelly, Unifor’s Women’s Department Director.

Unifor Local 914 members ratify new agreement with Clean Harbors

Unifor Local 914 members have voted 97% in favour of a new four-year collective agreement, ending a two-week strike at the Clean Harbors waste treatment facility in Sarnia.

“We would like to thank the membership, and the nearby locals and Unifor National staff who came to our picket line, and supported us throughout this strike to make this deal possible,” said Tom Rinker, President of Unifor 914, which represents 76 members at the plant.