Monday, July 23, 2007

VIA reaches tentative agreement. BC unions on strike

With tough negotiations but good faith bargaining can work. However, in Vancouver the city workers are on strike. It really seems as if the city wants to break the power of the unions. The strike will come in the midst of a busy tourist season. Preparations a being made to deal with the effects.Meanwhile forestry workers are also on strike.
Via Rail reaches tentative deal with CAW
Last Updated: Saturday, July 21, 2007 | 9:39 AM ET
The Canadian Press
Via Rail and its major union announced early Saturday that they have managed to avert a strike.

The passenger railway and the Canadian Auto Workers union said they reached a tentative agreement ahead of Sunday's midnight strike deadline.

Via spokesman Malcom Andrews said the three-year deal covers such issues as wages, benefits, work conditions and work rules.

"The negotiations were pretty close to around the clock for several days in succession,'' he said, adding both Via and CAW representatives "worked very hard, worked really professionally and really hammered things out.''

Paul Côté, Via's CEO and president, said in a statement that the settlement is good news for Canadian rail passengers.

"Via is very pleased with the outcome of negotiations. We believe that the settlement is good for our employees, and that it will assure the stability of our operations for the next three years,'' he said in the statement.

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The railway and the union will not release any details of the deal until it's ratified. Union leaders will be in Montreal on Monday to begin reviewing the deal.

However, the union said in a statement that it believes "this is an excellent agreement," and said it "unanimously recommends the ratification of this agreement.''

The CAW represents 2,600 Via Rail workers across Canada, including those who supply on-board services, ticket agents and skilled trades workers.

The company and the union had disagreed on wages and benefits.

The union had been without a collective agreement since it expired in December 2006. The two parties have been negotiating with the help of two federal conciliators for several weeks.

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