Monday, July 27, 2009

VIA Rail, Teamsters enter binding arbitration

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VIA Rail Canada and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference late Saturday agreed to binding arbitration to settle their contract dispute, one day after the latter went on strike at noon, July 24, effectively shutting down most of Canada’s intercity rail passenger service. VIA services slowly resumed operation on Sunday.

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“The process proposed by the mediator will allow the parties to resolve outstanding issues and, most importantly, will get Canada’s passenger rail service up and running again for our customers,” said VIA President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Côté.

“The negotiations have been challenging and we appreciate the support shown by our members during this process. We look forward to having our members back on the trains,” said Dan Shewchuk, president of the TCRC.

TCRC says its members have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2006. At issue are improved wages and benefits, scheduling that allows members two consecutive days off, and increased training schedules for engineers.