• National Railroads Strike in September?

  • For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.
For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.

Moderator: Jeff Smith

  by justalurker66
BandA wrote: Tue Oct 11, 2022 1:54 am1. Did the BMWED leadership think that their workers were going to agree to the tentative contract? Did they do an informal poll? 1st rule is to not call the vote until you are sure of the result.
I believe the union got the best deal that they felt they could get. If you read the union's cover letter it explains their rationale for accepting the TA.
BandA wrote: Tue Oct 11, 2022 1:54 am2. So everyone else has a signed contract - that's what they get even if the BMWED get something sweeter?
The final deal for the other unions will be sweetened to reflect any improvement over the agreements signed by the other unions. In effect, the hold out unions are negotiating for all parties.

Hopefully this will not lead to a strike. But if it does the policy of not crossing picket lines comes into play. The union striking sets up a picket line and the other unions honor it and no union person goes to work.
  by STrRedWolf
A second railroad union votes down Biden's tentative agreement
A second railroad union voted on Wednesday against ratifying the tentative agreement brokered between the railroad managers, unions and members of President Joe Biden's administration. The move increases the possibility of a strike in November that would endanger the national supply chain if a deal is not reached.

The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, which represents over 6,000 workers in the United States, announced that its members voted to reject the tentative agreement, sending the union back to the bargaining table with management.

In a statement, union president Michael Baldwin notes that it's the first time the union has voted against ratifying an agreement.

Sick leave policies continue to be at the center of talks. Unions argue current policies don't allow workers to take personal or sick time off. While the presidential emergency board (PEB) appointed by President Biden negotiated increases in wages, it did not address the leave policies.
  by eolesen
Posting this in both threads... Mods can merge, keep in both, or choose to sacrifice one of them...

Statement from President Joe Biden on Averting a Rail Shutdown
https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-roo ... -shutdown/
I am calling on Congress to pass legislation immediately to adopt the Tentative Agreement between railroad workers and operators – without any modifications or delay – to avert a potentially crippling national rail shutdown.

This agreement was approved by labor and management negotiators in September. On the day that it was announced, labor leaders, business leaders, and elected officials all hailed it as a fair resolution of the dispute between the hard-working men and women of the rail freight unions and the companies in that industry.

The deal provides a historic 24% pay raise for rail workers. It provides improved health care benefits. And it provides the ability of operating craft workers to take unscheduled leave for medical needs.

Since that time, the majority of the unions in the industry have voted to approve the deal.

During the ratification votes, the Secretaries of Labor, Agriculture, and Transportation have been in regular touch with labor leaders and management. They believe that there is no path to resolve the dispute at the bargaining table and have recommended that we seek Congressional action.

Let me be clear: a rail shutdown would devastate our economy. Without freight rail, many U.S. industries would shut down. My economic advisors report that as many as 765,000 Americans – many union workers themselves – could be put out of work in the first two weeks alone. Communities could lose access to chemicals necessary to ensure clean drinking water. Farms and ranches across the country could be unable to feed their livestock.

As a proud pro-labor President, I am reluctant to override the ratification procedures and the views of those who voted against the agreement. But in this case – where the economic impact of a shutdown would hurt millions of other working people and families – I believe Congress must use its powers to adopt this deal.

Some in Congress want to modify the deal to either improve it for labor or for management. However well-intentioned, any changes would risk delay and a debilitating shutdown. The agreement was reached in good faith by both sides.

I share workers’ concern about the inability to take leave to recover from illness or care for a sick family member. No one should have to choose between their job and their health – or the health of their children. I have pressed legislation and proposals to advance the cause of paid leave in my two years in office, and will continue to do so. Every other developed country in the world has such protections for its workers.

But at this critical moment for our economy, in the holiday season, we cannot let our strongly held conviction for better outcomes for workers deny workers the benefits of the bargain they reached, and hurl this nation into a devastating rail freight shutdown.

Congress has the power to adopt the agreement and prevent a shutdown. It should set aside politics and partisan division and deliver for the American people. Congress should get this bill to my desk well in advance of December 9th so we can avoid disruption.
  by CLamb
Why are the railroads so concerned about labor costs? What fraction of operating and total costs are labor costs?
  by Train60
A length article from the NY Times website

"House Passes Bill to Avert a Rail Strike, Moving to Impose a Labor Agreement"
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/30/us/p ... =share-url

Now we wait and see if the 2nd bill, that would force the railroads to provide seven days of paid sick leave, passes in the Senate.
Last edited by Train60 on Wed Nov 30, 2022 5:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by Gilbert B Norman
How say these two parallel topics be merged?
  by eolesen
CLamb wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2022 3:10 pm Why are the railroads so concerned about labor costs? What fraction of operating and total costs are labor costs?
Probably because Labor is the highest cost category?

This is UPRR's breakdown for Fiscal Year 2021 showing operating expenses as a % of total operating costs:

Wages 33%
Depreciation 18%
Fuel 16%
Services/Materials 16%
Equipment Ownership/Leases 7%
Other 9%

That doesn't take any accounting games into account e.g. special items, write-offs, etc.

For 2022, that will probably shift to slightly lower as a % because fuel will be closer to 20% of their expenses.
  by Gilbert B Norman
David P Morgan

"out of sight, out of mind".
While today's print editions of both The Journal and Times have front page coverage of the dispute's resolution, there is no longer any reference to such at either publication's site.

DPM's captioned quotation apparently lives on.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Fri Dec 02, 2022 12:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.
  by eolesen
It's a Biden policy failure. Of course it's buried.

He took a premature victory lap to slide thru the midterms, and then kneecapped the unions instead of calling for the status quo and more negotiations when the two sides were perceptually still far apart on a quality of work/family balance issue.

He could have called for an end to the RLA and Congressional intervention.

It's a policy fail.
  by NHV 669
43 senators also could have approved the sick leave measure.... and didn't. So much for "representing the working man."
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. NHV, how say we address a COLLECTIVELY BARGAINED sick leave policy?
  by eolesen
NHV 669 wrote: Fri Dec 02, 2022 11:44 am 43 senators also could have approved the sick leave measure.... and didn't. So much for "representing the working man."
Put otherwise, 43 Senators chose to respect and honor the agreement reached at the bargaining table by negotiators from both sides by not voting to make arbitrary modifications that neither side had a say in.

I do not agree with Congress meddling in matters between employees and their employers.

Perhaps someone can explain why they're so invested in the idea of having a third party with zero skin in the game being empowered to make arbitrary modifications to said agreement?...
  by NHV 669
eolesen wrote: Fri Dec 02, 2022 4:12 pm I do not agree with Congress meddling in matters between employees and their employers.
I entirely agree with this, my argument being that: if someone like me at the bottom of the food chain can get a week of paid sick days, why can't the men and women who are on call 24/7 get the same? It seems like that's a major driver in the attitude of lots of folks out there on the rails with this whole debacle.

Seems like the class I's and their investors will continue to prefer Operating Ratio over having to dole out a few extra personal days because *GASP* we'll have to put extra bodies on the payroll... why is that such a hard thing for a billion dollar company to offer?
  by eolesen
Do you at the bottom of the food chain have

1) the ability to mark yourself off for a week as unpaid
2) the ability to mark yourself available the other three weeks of the month and able to work every day within the FRA defined allowable hours of service?

Everyone's wrapped up in the "no paid sick time" narrative, but ignoring the flexibility that marking off and the extra board offer for being able to make up for days off that other jobs don't have.

And then there's this...

Per the AAR:
Excluding time off covered by sickness benefits, the average employee receives 25-29 days of paid time off depending upon craft, with the most senior employees receiving 37-39 days of paid time off. Sickness benefits differ between crafts.
25-29 paid days off per year is more than a month off. Is another week of paid time away on top of that the norm at your place of work?
  by Red Wing
How does BNSF's Hi-Viz or the other Class I's version of it fit into the AAR's statement? If I had to guess this is the real reason why railroaders want their sick time.
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