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VIA Rail releases contingency plan for potential CAW strike


Yesterday, VIA Rail Canada Inc. announced a contingency plan aimed at maintaining service if the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) launch a strike by month’s end.

The railroad is negotiating a contract with the union, which represents about 2,200 workers who provide services in stations and on trains, and in telephone sales offices, railroad offices and maintenance centers. A previous collective agreement expired on Dec. 31, 2009, and contract talks have been ongoing since October.

Federal mediators are assisting with negotiations and talks are expected to continue until June 27. The CAW must provide 72 hours notice of a work stoppage and no strike is anticipated before June 28, VIA Rail officials said in a prepared statement.

If a strike occurs, qualified locomotive engineers and management employees will help ensure basic train service continues on all routes, according to VIA Rail. The railroad would operate daily morning and end-of-day departures in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor and once-a-week service on all trains outside the corridor, with a few exceptions. Services between Sudbury-White River, Ontario, and Victoria-Courtenay, British Columbia, are provided by a third party, which would maintain normal operations.

"Because the CAW has been given a strike mandate by its membership, VIA must act now to look after our customers by ensuring continuity of basic train service and by providing as much information as possible," said VIA President and CEO Marc Laliberté.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/22/2010