Unifor members from across the country tuned in on June 7, 2022 to the union’s webinar about the history of VIA Rail, current challenges facing Unifor rail members and the union’s plan to fight privatization.
Jennifer Murray, Rail Representative on the National Executive Board, led the conversation, while National Secretary-Treasurer Lana Payne and Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the National President, engaged the audience with ways Unifor is supporting rail members.
The audience heard from Abe Rosner, a retired Unifor member who described successes and challenges from past rail campaigns and Unifor researcher Navjeet Sidhu on the federal government’s current plans to privatize the only profitable section of VIA Rail’s network.
Rosner detailed the bargaining campaign of the late 1990s that advanced the pension plan of VIA Rail workers and emphasized that for the “Get Canada Back on Track” campaign to be successful, the union must get activists, community groups and the broader public on board.
Participants also heard from Dave Kissack, President of Unifor Council 4000, on how to improve passenger rail service, Zoltan Czippel, President of Unifor 100, on the impact of privatization on VIA rail and Simon Moreau, Local 100 Regional Vice President of St. Lawrence Atlantic, on the union’s vision to fight privatization and create better passenger rail services for all Canadians.
During an audience Q&A, the group discussed engagement strategies to promote the campaign.