Posts Tagged ‘Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division’

Union Had Demanded More Paid Sick Days

October 21, 2022

The negotiating team representing railroad management said on Thursday that a railroad labor union whose members rejected a tentative contract offer is seeking additional paid sick days.

The National Carriers Conference Committee told negotiators for the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters that the railroads would not agree to that demand.

On Thursday the NCCC, which represents railroad management, issued a statement saying the demands made by the union were similar to those considered and rejected by a presidential emergency board, which in August had issued recommendations for a new contract.

The PEB had been appointed after the talks for a new contract had reached an impasse.

The NCCC statement describes the wage and benefits recommended by the PEB and included in the tentative contract offer rejected by the maintenance workers as “the most generous wage package in almost 50 years of national rail negotiations.”

The NCCC statement went on to say that the union has taken the stance that railroaders are not allowed to take sick leave, which the NCCC said is a premise that is “easily disproven.”

“Rail employees can and do take time off for sickness and have comprehensive paid sickness benefits starting, in the case of BMWED-represented employees, after four days of absence and lasting up to 52 weeks,” the NCCC statement said.

The statement went on to say that past collective bargaining agreements reflected the agreement by union and management alike that “short-term absences would be unpaid in favor of higher compensation for days worked and more generous sickness benefits for longer absences.”

In ratification voting, 43 percent of the maintenance workers favored accepting the tentative agreement.

Members of six other railroad labor unions have voted to accept the contract while the ratification process continues at five other unions. The ratification process is not expected to be completed before Nov. 17.

The maintenance workers union leadership has suggested that its members might strike on or after Nov. 19.

Railway Age magazine reported that the maintenance workers union leadership has recommended that its members contact their members of Congress to express the need for more paid sick days.

“The push for paid sick time off could potentially lead to Congressional action,” the union said. “While we hope the carriers will acknowledge the concerns of their employees and negotiate with us, it is important that we are prepared for their unwillingness to address quality of life concerns.”

A report written by the magazine’s Washington correspondent Frank Wilner said the Nov. 19 date for a strike would fall during a time when many members of Congress will not be in Washington to vote on legislation to end a work stoppage.

Wilner said it may also be a transition time with control of Congress set to change in early January as a result of the early November elections.

“Many members who were defeated or are retiring will be negotiating new employment with lobbying and law firms—a Washington ‘revolving door’ tradition,” Wilner wrote. “There will be incentive for many to double-down on pro- or anti-labor images, or avoid choosing sides and not vote. In short, lame-duck sessions are the worst of times for such a rail work stoppage to occur.”

Trains magazine reported on its website that railroads and their unions are still completing the details of a clause in the tentative agreement requiring railroads to pay some job-related travel expenses.

That report quoted Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz as saying that once union members have more details on how travel expenses will be handled that it is likely union members will approve the tentative contract.

MOW Workers Reject Contract

October 11, 2022

The threat of a rail stoppage looms next month after members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division voted to reject a tentative contract.

The union will return to the bargaining table with the National Carriers Conference Committee, which represents railroad management.

In a statement, BMWED President Tony Cardwell said his members “are discouraged and upset with working conditions and compensation and hold their employer in low regard.”

He said railroaders do not feel valued and resent that, in their view, management holds no regard for their workers’ quality of life.

Cardwell cited what he termed the “stubborn reluctance [of the railroads] to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness.”

The American Arbitration Association counted and verified the election results.

Of the 11,845 BMWED members who voted, 6,646 were against ratification and 5,100 were in favor.

BMWED said those were record numbers of members voting on a tentative labor agreement.

The union said it will not engage in a strike and the carriers cannot lock out workers until Nov. 19.

In the meantime, ratification voting continues among members of seven other railroad labor unions. Four unions have ratified the tentative agreement. The last national railroad work stoppage occurred in 1992.

A report posted on the website of Railway Age noted that ratification voting by other railroad labor unions is expected to continue through Nov. 20.

Court Rejects Local Bargaining by Union

April 6, 2022

An effort by a railroad labor union to engage in local negotiations over wages and benefits was rejected by a federal court.

The court ruled that the Railway Labor Act does not allow the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to seek local negotiations with some railroads.

National contract negotiations between railroad labor unions and major railroads have been underway since 2020. It is common for those negotiations to last for several years before reaching agreement on a new contract.

So long as negotiations continue the unions cannot strike. Currently, the parties are involved in mediation in an effort to hammer out a new agreement.

Rail Labor Unions Join Trades Coalition

January 8, 2022

Two railroad labor unions have agreed to rejoin the Rail Labor Division of the Transportation Trades Department, thus creating an alliance representing all railroad labor unions in the United States.

Agreeing to join the trade department were the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.

Both of the latter two unions are divisions of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

In a news release, the unions said the trades department will now represent more than 80,000 unionized railroad employees.

Union Sues CSX Over Payroll Errors

March 17, 2021

CSX has been sued by the union representing its maintenance-of-way workers over what the lawsuit alleges is the failure of the company to correct payroll errors that resulted from a new payment system.

The lawsuit was filed in a federal district court in Kentucky by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division Allied Federation.

The union contends that CSX unilateral implemented its TimeTrax program in violation of a requirement to reach agreement with the union before making changes in rates, terms, and working conditions.

Other allegations in the lawsuit are that payroll errors are widespread and that some workers have seen their paychecks shorted by thousands of dollars.

CSX and the union had sought to reach an out-of-court agreement, but the union said settlement discussions have failed.

“We have asked that all the problems be resolved, but management still does not appear to recognize that TimeTrax is a serious problem, let alone one that should have been fixed already,” said BMWED Allied Federal General Chairman Dennis Albers said in a statement.

Union Urges Caution Among its Members

June 25, 2020

A union representing track maintenance workers is urging its members to take precautions while working to avoid contracting COVID-19.

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamsters also took aim at Amtrak and Chicago commuter railroad Metra for being negligent in testing and tracing employees for COVID-19.

The union said there has been a rash of positive coronavirus cases among its members at several railroads, estimating 109 members have been affected by a coronavirus exposure.

Of those 15 individuals tested positive and remaining 94 are in a self-contained quarantine.

In a statement, union officials said doctors expect many of those in in quarantine will test positive in the coming days.

Those workers were employed by Amtrak, BNSF, CSX, Canadian National and Norfolk Southern.

Three union members have died from COVID-19.

The union said some of the spread of COVID-19 has come from post-work socializing. It urged its members to be more cautious by isolating and separating as much as possible.

“Go outside to hang out. Keep some distance,” the union told its members.

In the meantime, some union members have established informational picketing in front of the home of Amtrak board chairman Anthony Coscia.

An Amtrak spokeswoman said the passenger performs contact tracing in accordance with federal Center for Diseases Control guidelines and performs no-expense testing for those with symptoms or possible exposure.

However, the union said social distancing is often impossible in its work and it wants monthly testing as well as temperature screenings before work.

After accusing Metra of putting employees and passengers at greater risk, the rail commuter railroad said in a statement that the union’s views were “distorted.”

P&L MOW Workers OK New Contract

July 17, 2019

Union maintenance of way workers at the Paducah & Louisville have approved a five-year contract.

The workers are members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division and the contract they ratified includes general wage increases of 13.75 percent over the life of the contract, with a $500 signing bonus and a protected number of positions.

BMWED said in a news release that the contract will keep P&L employees wages above the national average.

The contract also contains language pertaining to work rules, including a freeze on health and welfare contributions, prescription co-pays and deductibles.

The agreement is back dated to Jan. 1, 2019, with back pay, through Dec. 31, 2023.

Labor Unions Opposing CP-NS Merger

January 21, 2016

Railroad labor unions are lining up in opposition to a proposed takeover of Norfolk Southern by Canadian Pacific.

Among the unions sending letters of opposition to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board and other public offices are the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, the Transportation Communications Union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; and the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers union.

Also announcing its opposition later in the week was the Teamsters.

In general, the unions argue that the merger would not be in the best interests of their members, shippers or the public.

The NS board of directors has spurned offers from CP to acquire NS stock. A formal merger proposal has yet to be filed with the STB.

BLET President Dennis R. Pierce’s told the STB that there is no benefit to a CP-NS merger and that it could result in layoffs at both railroads.

“CP’s proposal . . . appears designed to simply loot NS assets to generate even more cash that can be sucked out of the railroad for the exclusive benefit of shareholders and investors, and to the detriment of everyone else,” Pierce wrote.

SMART President John Previsich made similar comments, and singled out CP head E. Hunter Harrison for criticism.

“His strategy is clear; use up the current railroad infrastructure and wear out the locomotives, leaving a railroad that will need dramatic investment once he leaves,” Previsich wrote. “The railroads’ officers, investment bankers, consultants and stockholders will walk away greatly enriched at the expense of the future health of our nation’s rail service.”

Union leaders also raised the specter of a CP-NS merger triggering another round of railroad mergers.

“If other railroads are forced to respond in kind, the rail freight industry nationally could find itself in the sort of death spiral – of job cuts and deferred plant and equipment maintenance leading to reduced services, leading to further job cuts and more deferred plant and equipment maintenance, and so on – that the Northeast and Midwest sectors saw between the late 1960s and late 1970s,” Pierce said.

INRD MOW Workers Agree to Unionize

September 11, 2015

Maintenance of way workers at the Indiana Rail Road have voted to join the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division.

The union said that the 24 INRD members will be part of the union’s Allied Federation and do not currently have a contract with the railroad that governs wages and work rules.

In a news release, the BMWED said that the INRD employees have been working under railroad-set policies.

BMWED officials said that the union will now seek to negotiate an agreement setting pay rates, rules and working conditions.

Many of the INRD’s MOW workers once worked for Norfolk Southern, CSX or Canadian Pacific.

Representing the INRD workers “is a duty and responsibility that we take seriously and sincerely, and our brotherhood is stronger because of the faith these new 24 members have in our union,” said BMWED President Freddie Simpson.