Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Possible VIA Rail Strike

VIA 6406 in Winnipeg
The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union has issued a 72-hour strike notice. The CAW represents VIA's customer service, on-board service and maintenance workers. They do not represent the engineers, who are represented by the Teamsters.

The CAW has been in negotiations with VIA since this past October and the membership voted 94% in favour of a strike. The CBC is reporting that they have said they won't walk out until at least June 14.

The strike notice said its members are frustrated with the recent changes in VIA, including the reductions in service and drop in federal subsidy. There are no specific details on what the outstanding issues are, but it seems that salary is a significant part of it.

You may remember that the CAW last threatened a strike in June 2010. It's like last time... negotiate starting in October, threaten to go on strike in June. I suspect the timing has to do with the summer season.

Last time, VIA posted a contingency plan that had management attempting to run most Corridor trains and running the other trains once a week. I find it interesting that the same URL now shows "Access denied" and not "Not found". There is nothing yet on the VIA "media room" page about the strike notice.

UPDATE: Details are now posted.

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