Ontario Northland Railway (ONR) employees based in northern Ontario have ratified a new collective agreement. The contract was received with 65.5 per cent of the members voting in favour.
The 173 railway track, building and bridge maintenance workers will receive a cumulative wage increase of between 3.5 per cent and 5.0 per cent over the four-year contract. The wage and benefit package followed the pattern set by the United Steelworkers and other unions who signed contracts with ONR prior to the Teamster Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees Division (TCRC MWED).
"Our membership recognizes the financial realities presently faced by the ONR and have bargained with those in mind," said president of the TCRC MWED Bill Brehl in a press release. "During this unique round we focused more towards improved 'quality of life' work rules.”
The contract includes improvements to expense provisions as well as reduction of the distance travelled to be eligible for weekend travel assistance. Improvements to bunkhouse and boarding car accommodations are also included in the contract.
ONR reported a financial loss last year and is forecast to maintain a similar outlook in coming years.
ONR is an agency of the Ontario government, with employees maintaining transportation and communication links primarily in the most northeastern areas of the province. Over 1,000 workers are employed with the ONR.
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