District Lodge 19

where it all begin

 PDGC Mike Perry

The Corner Office

  • President, J. Michael Perry

J. Michael Perry

February 3, 2020

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a happy and safe Holiday season.The Staff of District 19 continues to be very busy. You can see our 4th Quarter Report by clicking on 2019 4th Quarter Report on our website.

 In January of 2020, I held a beginning of the year District Lodge 19 Staff meeting. This is the first meeting of its kind that I can remember ever taking place. The purpose of the meeting was to plan for the upcoming year. We had a very productive meeting, and it was decided that we continue having a Staff Meeting at the beginning of the year going forward.

This year, we are starting out with restructuring District 19. The process is now in place and should be completed by the end of January. In the past, I am sure you heard about our plan to assign General Chairmen to specific Local Lodges to guide and assist in the operations of the Local Lodges. It is important that our Locals operate in accordance within the Bylaws of the Local Lodge, the District Lodge and our IAM Constitution. A structured Local Lodge meeting is a well ran meeting and members are more likely to attend a well ran meeting. These Lodge assignments were made geographically so General Chairmen will be able to attend meetings with some regularity. As I am writing this article, Local Lodges are being notified of which General Chairman is assigned to their Lodge and are coordinating their schedules to attend meetings.  

We divided the District into eleven (11) regions. General Chairmen were geographically assigned to a region. This is different than the way assignments have been in the past. In the past General Chairmen assignments were Railroad specific. With this new plan General Chairmen will no longer be Railroad specific, they will be assigned to represent different Railroad properties within their Region. There are great benefits that come with this change, such as, General Chairmen will become versatile on different Railroads, the Railroad agreements and the different Railroad work practices. This will improve communication amongst the General Chairmen and will bring consistency to the workplace and help us better serve our membership. The District will also operate more efficiently and cost-effective.

In addition, with the establishment of Regions, Railroad Lead General Chairmen have also been assigned. They will be the Carrier’s point of contact with regards to Agreements, Work Rule changes and Company Policy or any matter that will affect the Railroad Machinists as a whole. The Lead Chairman will then meet with all the General Chairmen assigned to this railroad and discuss the issue(s) and develop a plan to address them. All General Chairmen, including the Lead General Chairman will be responsible for their assigned workplaces and servicing of members, such as grievances/claims, discipline and local issues. Notification of Regional Assignments have been sent to Local Lodge Officers, Local Chairmen, and the Carriers.

These changes will make this District run efficiently while reducing the cost of operating, without sacrificing the quality of servicing.  

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate General Chairman Gary Naylor on his promotion to a Grand Lodge Rep position for the Transportation Department. Please join me in wishing him well in his new endeavor.

The departure of GLR Gary Naylor leaves the District with a General Chairman’s vacancy. In the best interest of the District, I have decided not to fill Brother Naylor’s vacancy at this time.

FURLOUGHS:

I don’t have to tell you about the furloughs that have been taking place in the rail industry, specifically on the CSX, Union Pacific and the Norfolk Southern Railroads.  Furloughs have caused us to take an even closer look at the District’s operating cost. Secretary-Treasurer, Rich Nadeau and I, along with the General Chairmen are instituting changes in the District to lower and control our operating costs, without sacrificing the quality of servicing and representation. This is an ongoing process.

NATIONAL FREIGHT AGREEMENT:

Our Coalition had our initial Negotiation session with the Carriers in December 2019. There were no proposals exchanged during this meeting. However, the Carrier hinted, that without a quick agreement, mediation was their preferred path to take.   The Carrier’s believe the National Mediation Board is on their side. Remember, President Trump appointed the two most anti-union, anti-labor, board members in history of the NMB. Our next session will be held on February 26 and 27 in Washington, DC. There will be an update shortly after that meeting.

This round of negotiations has been the toughest that I have seen in my 25 years on the Railroad. With the 5-7% drop in car loadings, the Carrier believes furloughs must happen to stay competitive in the rail business. Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific have both said there will be more furloughs throughout this year. To show the seriousness of our current situation, just in the past couple of weeks, NS furloughed 48 and UP furloughed 46 of our fellow working Machinists. A devastating blow to these members and their families. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration is on the Carrier’s side and not on the hardworking employees who do the actual work that truly makes the industry thrive. This Administration is clearly not offering up any help to us. Thankfully, we have a large coalition that is committed to stand by each other and fight with all we have against this corrupted management style.


Know this staff is dedicated to the membership and is working hard to make this District the best District ever.

J Michael Perry

PDGC