MONTRÉAL, March 15, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Following the tentative agreements reached in January, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) and Unifor Council 4000 have announced the ratification of collective agreements 1 and 2 by the members of Unifor Council 4000, the union representing more than 1,600 VIA Rail employees in stations, on board trains, in call centres and in administrative offices.
These two-year agreements (from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021) were ratified by the membership on March 12 and include a 2% wage increase for 2021, increased pension contributions for members of the hybrid plan, and new and improved benefits.
The new contract covers 1,700 maintenance workers, on-board service personnel, chefs, sales agents and customer service staff at VIA Rail.
“This is a good agreement in truly exceptional times,” said Dave Kissack, Unifor Council 4000 President. “Even while at the bargaining table, we negotiated pandemic wage top-ups, benefits protections, and navigated unprecedented threats to members’ health and safety. Despite those challenges, we found a path to this contract that members have thrown their support behind.”
“We are delighted by the ratification of the collective agreements. Our employees are key contributors to VIA Rail’s success, without whom the fulfillment of our mission to put our passengers first would not be possible,” said Martine Rivard, Chief Employee Experience Officer. “I would like to thank Unifor’s representatives and National President, Jerry Dias, as well as the negotiating teams and conciliator. The determination and professionalism of everyone involved led to fair and reasonable agreements despite the unique challenges faced over the last year. In addition to providing a safe, accessible, sustainable travel experience to our passengers, our team looks forward to continuing to build the VIA Rail of tomorrow by creating a more modern passenger rail service.”
In February, the CSN filed a petition for union certification concerning VIA Rail employees in maintenance centres represented by Unifor 3, which the Canada Industrial Relations Board is currently reviewing. As a result, ratification for the agreement with Unifor 3 has been postponed until further notice.
Useful link: VIA Rail Reaches tentative agreements with Unifor (January 30, 2021)