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TriMet, VIA Rail and CP note labor contract developments


Yesterday the Tri-County Metropolitan Transit District of Oregon (TriMet) and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Division 757 declared that contract negotiations have reached an impasse. Under state law, TriMet and the ATU are required to take several collective bargaining steps, including negotiations, mediation and binding arbitration.

The previous contract between TriMet and the ATU expired Nov. 30, 2009. At the end of the 150-day “good faith” bargaining period, the parties weren’t able to reach an agreement. Seven days after an impasse is declared, each party submits its final offer, including any proposed contract language and a cost summary related to disputed issues.

If an agreement is reached prior to binding arbitration, ATU members would vote on the proposed contract and TriMet’s board would have to approve the agreement. If no agreement is reached, the parties would move to binding arbitration. ATU represents 2,000 TriMet employees.

Meanwhile, Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) members voted 88 percent in favor of a new collective agreement with VIA Rail Canada Inc. The three-year agreement includes wage increases each year; benefit improvements, including short-term and long-term disability; a new apprenticeship program for maintenance; and health care spending accounts for retirees, according to the CAW, which represents 2,200 VIA Rail employees.

In addition, Canadian Pacific and the IBEW's Canadian Signals and Communications System Council No. 11 have reached a tentative three-year collective agreement. The council represents about 400 CP workers who maintain signal systems.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/23/2010