Negotiations with VIA Rail On-going, Union Issues Strike Notice

June 24, 2010, 3:52 PM EST

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The CAW has issued its 72 hour strike notice to VIA Rail, after the company tabled its first economic proposal last night rife with concessions. The strike deadline is Sunday night at 11:59 p.m.

"This is a step that we clearly did not want to take but the attitude of VIA has left us no other option," said Bob Chernecki, assistant to CAW National President, who is heading up the negotiations for the union. Chernecki said the union will continue to work towards reaching a fair collective agreement without a dispute, but this will require VIA to change its current direction.

"VIA's proposal is an outright attack on benefits earned over many decades," said Chernecki. Some of these company demands included attacks on seniority provisions, pregnancy leave, vacation schedules and a number of other items.

Chernecki said that the bargaining committee is frustrated with the corporation's refusal to recognize the significant contribution that VIA members make on a daily basis.

Chernecki said that VIA has pressed the CAW master bargaining committee on the serious funding shortfall that VIA has experienced in recent years, indicating that the situation became more concerning during the recent economic downturn in 2008 and 2009. However, the bargaining committee responded that VIA's funding levels historically have not been what they should be and the only blame for this is with the federal government.

For several years, the CAW has been on the forefront expressing their strong opposition to the lack of VIA funding.

Negotiations continue around the clock. The CAW is asking its members to remain focussed on providing top quality service to VIA customers.

The CAW represents 2,200 members at VIA Rail across the country.


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