Posts Tagged ‘National Carriers Conference Committee’

Unions Deride Contract Proposals

January 24, 2021

Railroad labor unions said last week that none of the new contract proposals made by the Class 1 railroads have been worthy of consideration.

The statement put out by the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition said it will continue to meet with representatives of the carriers.

The CBC represents more than 105,000 railroad workers or more than 80 percent of the workforce that is affected by the negotiations.

Meetings with the National Carriers Conference Committee began in late 2019. The NCCC represents most Class 1 railroads and some smaller carriers.

The union announcement noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has made meetings a challenge and most presentations have been made virtually. Additional meeting have been set early this year.

“The parties will continue to meet in good faith as we move into 2021, fully cognizant that it is our members who must ratify any voluntary agreement,” the union statement said.

Although the previous contract has expired, that contract remains in force and there is no expiration date.

The last contract talks began in January 2015 and didn’t conclude until late 2018 with some terms of the new agreement being applied retroactively.

The last railroad work stoppage occurred in 1992.

The unions involved in the CBC include the American Train Dispatchers Association; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen/Teamsters Rail Conference; the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; the International Association of Machinists; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers; the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; the Transport Workers Union of America  the Transportation Communications Union/IAM, including TCU’s Brotherhood of Railway Carmen Division; and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers.

Class 1 Collective Bargaining to Start Jan. 26, CSX to Talk Separately With Unions on Wages and Work Rules

January 16, 2020

Collective bargaining between U.S. Class 1 railroads and their unions will get underway on Feb. 26 in Washington.

However, CSX has said that it plans to negotiate with the unions separately on wages and work rules.

The six Class 1 railroads make up the National Carriers’ Conference Committee that represents their interests in labor negotiations.

But CSX said this week it will only participate in that bargaining on matters of health and welfare. It is not clear when CSX will begin meeting with its unions other than it will be later this month.

Negotiating sessions this year involving the Carriers’ Conference are also slated to be held in Cleveland, Chicago and Omaha, Nebraska.

Labor unions, which represent 125,000 railroad workers that involved in the contract talks include: American Train Dispatchers Association, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, International Association of Machinists, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Transport Workers Union of America, Transportation Communications Union, and SMART-Transportation Division.

Contract negotiations take place every five years and are governed by the Railway Labor Act, which seeks to avoid major railroad strikes because of their potential to harm the U.S. economy.

Railroad labor agreements do not have expiration dates and negotiations can take years to complete.

Observes expect negotiations this year to be contentious as railroads push for single-person crews with conductors to be made into ground-based positions.

Lawsuit Seeks to Force Unions to Talk About Crew Size

October 8, 2019

A railroad union is being sued by eight railroads in an effort to force it to bargain over train crew size in upcoming contract talks.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court for the Northern District of Texas against the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Division by BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern and three other railroads, two of which (Illinois Central and Grand Trunk Western) exist on paper because they are part of Canadian National.

The eighth railroad in the lawsuit is the Belt Railway of Chicago.

The suit contends that the union has refused to negotiate crew sizes at the national level. The union has contended that negotiating over crew size is banned under its current contracts with the railroads.

The railroads disagree with that interpretation of the contract and want the dispute to be resolved through arbitration.

The lawsuit described the issue of crew size as “one of the most contentious issues that has ever arisen in collective bargaining between the railroads and the unions.”

Negotiations for a new contract are expected to begin on Nov. 1 and the railroads want to talk about crew sizes during those sessions.

The lawsuit contends that the railroads “will be unable to progress the bargaining in the face of SMART-TD’s  . . . tactics to delay or obstruct any negotiations over crew consist. Every day that the railroads are unable to obtain new agreements is another day that they are unable to realize the benefits of more efficient and productive operations, and there is no way for the railroads to recover those lost potential savings.”

In a news release, SMART described the lawsuit as not the first time that railroads have tried to “attack” the crew size issue.

Typically, contract talks over wages, benefits and work rules are conducted by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee, which represents all Class I roads and a number of smaller ones, with 12 unions representing 140,000 railroad workers.

The last round of negotiations between began in January 2015 and drug on for three years.

Because labor contracts do not expire so there is no deadline for negotiations.

2 Unions Agree to Arbitration to Settle Contracts

March 10, 2018

Two railroad unions have agreed to seek binding arbitration in an effort to seek a new contract with the National Carriers’ Conference, which represents the nation’s major freight railroad.

The unions involved are the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division-IBT  and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.

The unions and Carriers’ Conference have agreed to use arbitration to decide the health insurance benefits for the union workers.

“These agreements reflect our shared commitment to finding the best method to bring our bargaining to a conclusion,” said NCCC Chairman A. Kenneth Gradia in a statement. “We are now much closer to a final resolution with all the rail unions.”

BMWE and SMART-Mechanical Division represent 29,000 employees.

Seven other unions representing 102,000 employees have ratified new contracts with the railroads that include wage increases and retroactive pay.

Those unions are the American Train Dispatchers Association; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; Brotherhood Railway Carmen; International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division including Yardmasters; National Conference of Firemen and Oilers; and Transportation Communications International Union.

Three unions remain in mediation. They are the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Blacksmiths, Iron Ship Builders, Forgers and Helpers.

BMWE Reaches Contract with Railroads

March 8, 2018

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees has reached a tentative agreement with the National Carriers Conference Committee, which represents the nation’s railroads.

The agreement must now be ratified by the union members. The BMWE has 27,500 members.

The contract establishes wages and work rules that are similar to those reached last year by two other unions, but on health care the BMWE and carriers agreed to binding arbitration.

More than 70 percent of the almost 145,000 unionized freight rail employees have now ratified agreements with the 30 freight railroads represented by the Conference Committee.

This includes the American Train Dispatchers Association (1,600 members); Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (27,200); Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (8,500); Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (11,100); the Transportation and Yardmaster divisions of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (44,000); National Conference of Firemen and Oilers (2,800); and Transportation Communications International Union (6,300).

Unions that continue to negotiate with the Conference Committee include the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (7,600 members); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (6,400); and International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Blacksmiths, Iron Ship Builders, Forgers and Helpers.

Bargaining for new contracts began in January 2015. The federal Railway Labor Act requires that existing agreement provisions on wages, benefits and work rules remain in force until revised through collective bargaining, binding arbitration or congressional legislation.

The most recent contracts ratified by the unions will not be subject to renegotiation before Jan. 1, 2020.

A Railway Age analysis is that the new contracts will put almost $33,000 more into the pockets of the highest-paid workers by mid-2019, and more than $16,000 into the paychecks of those in the lower wage rungs. There are no work rules changes.

Employee monthly premiums for health care insurance are capped at $288 a month through mid-2020. The railroads will continue to pay about 90 percent of all employee healthcare costs.

Amtrak negotiates separately with about a dozen unions and it has reached new contracts with conductors and engineers that are retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015.

Those agreements increase wages by almost 19 percent through July 2021 and cap employee healthcare contributions.

Amtrak continues to negotiate with the BMWE and other labor organizations.

2 More Railroad Unions Ratify Contract

January 25, 2018

A new contract between the nation’s major freight railroads and members of the Transportation Communications International Union and the Brotherhood Railway Carmen  unions has been ratified.

The new agreement covers more than 17,000 employees.

“I am pleased that more than 70 percent of our employees have now ratified the national settlement terms and even more, that they are approving them by overwhelming margins,” said A. Kenneth Gradia, Chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee, which represented the railroads in the contract talks.

Unions representing 84,000 employees have ratified their agreements with the railroads. These include:

  • American Train Dispatchers Association
  • Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen
  • Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen International
  • Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers ─ Transportation Division including Yardmasters
  • National Conference of Firemen and Oilers

Ratification voting on the railroads’ agreements with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is underway.

The NCCC represents more than 30 railroads, including BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific, in national bargaining with the 12 rail unions. Bargaining began in 2015.