Ottawa, December 19, 2014 – The bargaining process between the 350 Locomotive Engineers at VIA Rail represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and the rail carrier, are at a point that both parties agree that third party assistance would be beneficial.
The Teamsters Union and the employer have, by mutual agreement, requested the intervention of a conciliator(s). It is expected that the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) will announce shortly the conciliator(s) that will be assigned to the case.
As with the negotiations with Canadian National (CN), TCRC officers’ goal is to prevent service interruptions. They informed the employers’ negotiators of this intent during previous meetings.
The Teamsters propose a simple strategy to this effect: To keep trains running in the unlikely event the parties cannot reach an agreement. To accomplish this both parties would agree to donate predetermined amounts to charities, this as opposed to taking lockout or strike action. The parties will be required to donate these amounts until they have agreed on a new work contract.
This new approach not only represents a first in the rail industry’s history of labour relations, but also is an attempt by the Teamsters Union to replace the traditional bargaining pattern.
“We seek to avoid an artificial labour dispute that would negatively affect the workers, passengers, company and the Canadian economy,” explained Rex Beatty, president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. “I am convinced that VIA Rail management shares our objectives.”
“We also implemented this strategy with CN,” adds the union leader. “Our hope is that it [the strategy] instills renewed optimism in our labour relation.”
The current agreement binding VIA Rail and the Teamsters expires on December 31 of this year.
The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
Stéphane Lacroix, Communications Department
Telephone: 514 609-5101
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