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Petitioning Rocky Mountaineer Railtours

Please come back to the negotiating table and bargain in good faith.

On June 22rd the Rocky Mountaineer locked out over 100 dedicated onboard attendants. Rocky Mountaineer has boasted that they are a 200 million dollar company but refuses to give its employees a reasonable wage increase after 3 years at the same pay rate. They have never followed the federal labour code when it comes to overtime yet the company hides behind that same labour code by using replacement workers (scabs), which is illegal in the province of British Columbia. The use of scab labour undermines the right to fair bargaining by the employees.

The company feels no pressure to negotiate and claims to be running business as usual. The over 100 locked out onboard attendants do not see this as business as usual. It is not usual to be standing on the other side of a fence watching someone else do their job. It is not usual to have overstaffed coaches to make up for the inexperience of the new workers. It is not usual to have "managers" staffing the coaches and serving the guests. And it certainly is not "business as usual" to have guests cross a picket line at the beginning or end of a trip.

The company is doing their best to make the locked out employees look like the bad guys; they will say that they had no choice but to lock their employees out, however the negotiating team had asked for an extension to avoid giving strike notice, and in order for the staff to keep working while negotiating, and it was denied. Instead the company chose lock the staff out and to put into place an expensive contingency plan in an obvious effort to break the union. Some of the workers have been fired while on the picket line for ‘behaviour unbecoming of an onboard attendant’.

They have enlisted an abundance of security to constantly film and intimidate the peaceful picketers, have spent countless dollars trying serve court injunctions against employees that are only trying to get their jobs back. They've put tarpaulins along the fences so that the guests cannot see the faces of the award winning staff that should be on that train.

These are not greedy people, these are people who love their jobs and have 900 collective years of experience on the train. These are the real attendants whose faces can be seen in the literature on the train, advertisements and commercials. They are people with families, mortgages and babies on the way. These are people that dedicate their lives to the company and work tremendously long hours to build a nest egg in order to make the money they earn stretch an entire year as they are not easily employable in the winter time.

The locked out workers have also created an informational video which can be found at as well as a facebook page here: This video gives a brief history of the company and the situation at hand. Please have a look at this video and browse this website to see the story of these attendants.

The workers have the support of some of the BC members of parliament as well as the support of Vancouver city councilors but the company will not budge, will not negotiate.

I thank you for taking time to review this and consider our situation.

Letter to
Rocky Mountaineer Railtours
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Rocky Mountaineer Railtours.

Please come back to the negotiating table and bargain in good faith.
We feel it is important to share the details how the lock-out come into being to highlight the lack of good faith bargaining on part of the company, and also how there were alternatives to actions Rocky Mountaineer took, despite what they have repeatedly told guests.

Bargaining for a new contract began earlier this year for the attendants, who had just come off a 3 year wage freeze due to the economic downturn. However the company did not engage in what is generally considered to be 'bargaining in good faith' i.e. sitting down with the union and discussing what is feasible.

Rather, proposals were put forward by the union and the company did not negotiate over the specifics. Instead the union was told, verbatim, to 'go and sharpen your pencils', while meetings were brief and unproductive. Finally the company offered the union a proposal: .5% raise 1st year, 1% second year, 1.5% the third year (not cumulative, in laymen's terms 10 cents an hour each year for 3 years), and other changes that would have meant a wage decrease for many attendants.

The offer did nothing to address the scheduling issues that would have cost the company nothing but would made work life much better for a number of attendants - some of whom have been there 5 years and have had no control over their schedule (including for some, no overtime despite sometimes working over 90 hours in 6 days). A strike vote was taken and passed with a huge majority. Bear in mind that a strike vote means giving the union the tools to engage in job action - such as wearing a pin that can say 'working without a contract' , and does not necessarily mean engaging in a strike - in fact the union went to great lengths to emphasize that the last thing that they wanted the Onboards to do was be on strike.

Another proposal was put forward by the company, which was just minor variations of the first. With the strike vote expiring, the company came up with a curious "final-final" offer combo to be voted on (proposal A was offered, and when there was an uproar with the suggestion of room sharing, the company quickly came up with an option B). With the trains running and not enough time for the membership to vote (some people were away working on the train for 8 days in a row), the union asked for an extension on the strike vote to allow the Onboards to vote on the company's proposals. Rocky Mountaineer refused, leaving the Union no choice but to serve strike notice. Immediately the company issued lock-out notice and set about getting the force of replacement workers they had been secretly training, whilst at the same time denying they existed, ready to be on the train in a matter of days. I hope you will take the time to really think about this sequence of these events. Yes the union issued strike notice, but only because it had no choice - no time to vote on the offers from Rocky Mountaineer and the company denying it the option to continue negotiating.

The workers have the support of some of the BC members of parliament and of Vancouver city councilors.

I thank you for taking time to review this and consider our situation.



Charlene MacFarlane started this petition with a single signature, and now has 518 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.