FREDERICTON, May 10, 2014 /CNW/ - After a months-long campaign led by
Unifor activists in New Brunswick, the federal government has agreed to
provide funding to repair train tracks between Miramichi and Bathurst
which will allow passenger rail service to continue in the Maritimes.
The campaign to save passenger rail service was launched by Unifor and
led by Local 4000, Local 100 and local union activists. They worked
tirelessly with mayors, municipal councils and the public to raise
awareness about the necessity of this service and to ensure that the
Maritimes remained tied together and to the rest of Canada by a
national passenger rail system.
"The effects of abandoning this section of track would have had a
devastating impact on so many communities along the ocean route," said
Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor. "It would have had a terrible
impact on Via Rail workers and their families so we are pleased to see
that the government has recognized the value of this service."
Via Rail uses the section of track, owned by Canadian National Railway,
for its Ocean Limited service connecting communities between Montreal
and Halifax. In January, CN put the 70-kilometre stretch in New
Brunswick up for sale stating that it would shut down that section if
it could not find a buyer. For its part, Via Rail refused to purchase
the section of the trail, putting service to the Maritimes at risk.
"This decision not only saves passenger rail service to the Maritimes,
but will also stabilize jobs in the region and recognizes the
importance of public transit," said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional
Director for Unifor. "Our members mobilized and were instrumental in
making this happen. Our thanks also to the federal NDP Opposition for
their critical support!"
"This is a great day for us because we know how important this service
is to Maritimers," said Patrick Murray, representative from Unifor
Local 4000. "We are proud that we played a part in making this happen
and making sure that our communities stay connected."
Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto
Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.
With more than 305,000 members, Unifor is Canada's largest union in the
For further information:
Shelley Burgoyne, Communications