Class 1s Begin Bargaining With 12 Unions

Bargaining got underway this week between 12 railroad labor unions and the National Railway Labor Conference, which represents the nation’s Class 1 freight railroads.

The railroad industry has indicated that it wants the unions to agree to a new contract that better aligns pay to market conditions and pay levels of comparable industries.

In a news release, the NRLC said it also is seeking changes to health-plan design that would allow more cost sharing; and make changes to work rules, including those that affect train-crew staffing.

In doing this, the railroads also want to take into account the use of new technology, including developments in automation and safety, in railroad operations.

The NRLC said any new contract would ensure that railroad employees remain one of the best compensated workforces in America.

The bargaining affects working conditions and compensation for nearly 125,000 railroad employees represented by the unions.

Under the Railway Labor Act, current collective bargaining agreements remain in force indefinitely.

This is done to minimize service disruptions because of labor disputes.

The last time the unions and the NRLC launched negotiations it took four years to reach a new contract, which was ratified in 2018.

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