CAW issues strike notice at VIA Rail

Customer service, on-board service and maintenance workers could walk off the job

The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union has issued a 72-hour strike notice to VIA Rail, notifying the company at a meeting on June.

The deadline set by the union and VIA Rail is June 14 at 12:01 a.m., ET. The 72-hour notice is required by federal law. CAW members at VIA voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike if necessary.

Negotiations have been ongoing since late October, the union said.

"The high strike vote reflects the frustrations and insecurities our members feel at VIA," said CAW president Ken Lewenza. "This is a direct result of a drop in federal funding and VIA's so-called ‘modernization’ plan which has seen routes cut, stations closed and de-staffed. This plan is not the path to modernizing Canada's passenger railway services."

The CAW is VIA Rail's largest union, representing about 2,000 workers in customer service, on-board service and maintenance. 

Trains running as usual: VIA

VIA Rail said it is determined to reach new collective agreements with its employees represented by the CAW before the June 14 deadline.

"VIA Rail remains optimistic that an agreement will be reached between the parties," it said in a press release. "Parties have been in conciliation since April. They are currently in mediation."

It said rail service will "continue to be fully functional and provide the same level of service, on-time departures and arrivals, on-board quality service and safety to its passengers, employees and the public as it normally does."

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