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VIA Rail worker union issues strike mandate


Members of Unifor, which represents VIA Rail Canada workers, yesterday overwhelmingly voted to issue a strike mandate.

Unifor Council 4000 and Local 100 members conducted strike votes with VIA Rail workers between June 20 and July 1, resulting in a 99.4% vote in favor of strike action at Local 100 and a 99.3% vote in favor from Council 4000 members, Unifor officials said in a press release.

Unifor represents more than 2,000 maintenance workers, on-board service personnel, chefs, sales agents and customer service staff at VIA Rail.

"The strike vote result sends a clear message to the employer: The membership supports the bargaining committee, is firm in their demands and is prepared to take action if needed," said Scott Doherty, executive assistant to Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "At this critical time, VIA Rail members deserve the best possible agreement, and that can only be won by working together, in solidarity."

The union is pushing back against multiple concessions from VIA Rail, including the removal of the supplement agreement, which would result in a loss of job security, Unifor officials said. VIA Rail tabled language that would weaken the layoff section of the collective bargaining agreement.

Unifor's bargaining committees are in Montreal this week and are "committed to meet with VIA Rail right up to the strike deadline" on Monday, July 11, union officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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