District Lodge 19

where it all begin

NEWS

RAILWAY AGE   Written by 

 

Second freight rail labor pact reached
 

Major U.S. freight railroads have reached a tentative contract agreement with the second of three coalitions representing unionized employees.

The National Railway Labor Conference representing employers announced that it had reached agreement with Brotherhood Railway Carmen (BRC), the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and the Transportation Communications Union (TCU).

The new agreements cover wages, benefits and other issues for more than 31,000 employees and are subject to membership ratification. The Transport Workers Union, which represents a limited number of employees in this bargaining, is also a party to these agreements.

The railroads have now reached agreements with unions covering 116,000 employees, or 80% percent of the 145,000 employees in this bargaining round. The following unions, which represent 81,000 employees in the bargaining, have already ratified their agreements with the railroads: American Train Dispatchers Association; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, and International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers ─ Transportation Division including Yardmasters.

Contracts are still to be worked out with the third labor coalition consisting of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers representing the final 20% of affected unionized rail workers.

“These new agreements, which follow the terms established in the earlier agreements, bring us closer to the resolution of negotiations with all the unions,” said A. Kenneth Gradia, Chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the railroads’ bargaining representative.

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

 

After three years of difficult and contentious bargaining with the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC), District Lodge 19, together with our coalition partners (TCU, TWU and IBEW) have reached a Tentative National Agreement (TA) subject to membership ratification. The TA follows the terms of the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) TA, which has now been ratified by an overwhelmingly majority of CBG members (6 rail unions). A comprehensive ratification package is being prepared, which will be mailed out to all Local Lodges under national handling, for distribution to each member. We anticipate a mailing date of December 29th with a ballot count date of February 5, 2018. Once the ratification package is mailed, full details of the TA will be posted on our website.

“On behalf of the IAM, District Lodge 19, I initialed the patterned CBG settlement which has now been ratified by nearly 60% of the employees in the railroad industry. I realize we did not achieve all our goals in this round of bargaining, but I firmly believe, we reached an agreement worthy of ratification. It will be up to you, our membership, to make the final determination. I thank all of you for your patience during this long process” said President Directing General Chairman Lacey.

 

Ratifications make rail strike unlikely Written by 

 
Ratifications make rail strike unlikely
 

The probability of a national railroad strike has likely been reduced to single digits with ratification of a new national wage, benefits and work rules agreement by four rail unions comprising more than half of unionized rail workers.

The ratified agreements will now be considered by railroads as patterns to be accepted by the unions that have yet to reach and/or ratify a tentative agreement. Those unions remain at the bargaining table with the National Railway Labor Conference, which represents U.S. Class I railroads and many regionals and short lines. Class I carriers include BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.

Under the Railway Labor Act, contracts never expire, but continue in force until periodically amended. The National Mediation Board (NMB) controls the process, providing skilled mediators who work to focus the parties on common interests and constructive dialogue.

The Railway Labor Act prohibits strikes or lockouts until the NMB releases the parties. Even then, there is a lengthy process leading to non-binding recommendations by a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), followed by additional talks before a strike or lockout may occur.

This round of national bargaining over wages, benefits and work rules began almost three years ago. Railroads have been negotiating as a single coalition, while the 12 labor unions voluntarily separated into three separate coalitions.

The largest union coalition, which reached the tentative agreement in October, includes the American Train Dispatchers Association; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Forgers and Helpers; and Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Transportation Division (including yardmasters).

Four of those six unions, representing conductors, dispatchers, engineers and signalmen, ratified. The boilermakers rejected the tentative agreement, while the firemen and oilers haven’t completed the ratification vote.

Two other coalitions remain at the bargaining table. One, comprising 22% of unionized rail workers, includes the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Transportation Communications International Union; and Brotherhood Railway Carmen. The third coalition, comprising 20% of unionized rail workers, includes the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes and the shopcraft side of SMART.

Provisions of the ratified agreement are retroactive to January 2015, and its terms are not subject to renegotiation before January 2020.

There now will be pressure on remaining unions to accept the pattern set. In fact, the NMB can keep those unions at the bargaining table indefinitely – especially if the NMB determines they are not engaged in good-faith bargaining.

If one or more do not reach a tentative agreement that is ratified by its members, the NMB eventually will release them from bargaining, which begins a series of three 30-day cooling-off periods punctuated by appointment of a PEB that will make non-binding settlement recommendations. Should those recommendations—typically mindful of the pattern already set—be rejected, a strike could then occur.

There has not been a national railroad strike since 1991. Historically, Congress steps in within hours with legislation ending a national railroad work stoppage, imposing a third-party settlement most often mirroring PEB recommendations. Railway Labor Act procedures would delay such an unlikely outcome at least until spring. Congress can and has imposed less generous terms on overly truculent unions, and there is practical reason to assume that this current conservative congressional majority would not look kindly on a holdout after most other unions have settled.

In fact, the ratified agreements reflect realization among workers of an economic environment characterized by wage stagnation and increasing healthcare cost burdens on most American workers, and a rail industry coping with a significant reduction in its bedrock coal traffic. Viewing the tentative agreement as equitable in this environment, BLET and SMART-TD members ratified it by overwhelming margins – 80% for SMART-TD and near 90% among BLET members.

The ratified contract, which is still on the table for the unions that have yet to settle, puts at least $33,000 more into the pockets of the highest paid rail workers within just two years and more than $16,000 by mid-2019 to those in the lower wage rungs. And there is not a single work rules change.

Although healthcare co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums rise—but more slowly than medical cost inflation, and barely for those in good health—employee monthly insurance premiums are capped at the current level until at least mid-2020. By contract, other private sector and federal workers pay significantly more. In fact, railroads will be paying some 90% of all employee healthcare costs.

Both labor and carrier negotiators were complimentary of the guidance provided the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition by NMB mediator Eva Durham, and in the latter stages by NMB member Linda Puchala, who was a NMB mediator for many years prior to her 2009 elevation as a Senate-confirmed NMB seat.

 
 

 
 
 
 

Frank N. Wilner, Contributing Editor

Frank N. Wilner is author of six books, including, Amtrak: Past, Present, Future; Understanding the Railway Labor Act; and, Railroad Mergers: History, Analysis, Insight. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics and labor relations from Virginia Tech. He has been assistant vice president, policy, for the Association of American Railroads; a White House appointed chief of staff at the Surface Transportation Board; and director of public relations for the United Transportation Union. He is a past president of the Association of Transportation Law Professionals. Wilner drafted the railroad section of the Heritage Foundation’s Mandate for Change (Volumes I and II), which were policy blueprints for the two Reagan Administrations; and was a guest columnist for the Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS
DISTRICT LODGE 19
PRESIDENT DIRECTING GENERAL CHAIRMAN:  JOHN LACEY

October 5, 2017

TO:       All General Chairman and Local Lodge Officers with Members under the National Agreement

SUBJECT: Tentative Agreement reached by the CBG Dear Sisters and Brothers:

A tentative National Agreement has been reached by the six Rai l Unions who comprise the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG). Details are set forth in their Press Release attached.

These six Unions are now in the process of submitting the tentative agreement to the specific ratification process of each Union. This is a major development in a long and contentious bargaining round with the industry. While the 1AM is not a part of the CBG, the tentative agreement will undoubtedly form the basis of any agreement we are able to reach. Historically, an agreement reached by a Union or Unions in National Negotiations forms the basis of subsequent agreements by other Unions. Moreover, its contents have been the subject of much discussion in Negotiations.

Sincerely and fraternally yours,

John Lacey

President Directing Genera l Chairman District 19

Attachment

5 KNOLLWOOD DRIVE • BRANFORD, CT 06405 • PHO NE: 203-483-4241 • FAX 203-483-4258

TRENT                                       3 P A INTI NG


National Negotiations update: Coordinated Bargaining Group unions reach tentative national contract agreement

Independence, Ohio, October 5 - Rail Unions making up the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) announced today that they have reached a Tentative National Agreement with the Nation's Freight Rail Carriers . The CBG is comprised of six unions: the American Train Dispatchers Association; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (a Division of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers; the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers/ SEIU; and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART TD).

On Wednesday, October 4th, the CBG's full Negotiating Team met in Independence, Ohio for a review of the terms of the proposed voluntary agreement. Following that review, each of the CBG Unions' Negotiating Teams unanimously endorsed the Tentative Agreement. On Thursday, October 5th, the involved General Chairpersons of SMART TD, BRS and BLET met as well and those groups also unanimously endorsed the Tentative Agreement for consideration by the respective membership of each Union.

The Tentative Agreement, which will be submitted to the memberships of each involved Union in the coming weeks, includes an immediate wage increase of 4%, with an additional 2.5% six months later on July 1, 2018 and an additional 3% one year later on July 1, 2019. In addition, wage increases of 2% effective July 1, 2016 and another 2% effective July 1, 2017 will be fully retroactive through implementation, for a compounded increase of 9.84% over an 18-month period and 13.14% over the 5- year contract term (this includes the First General Wage Increase of 3% implemented on January 1, 2015).

All benefits existing under the Health and Welfare Plan will remain in effect unchanged and there are no disruptions to the existing healthcare net works. While some employee participation costs are increased, the tentative agreement maintains reasonable maximum out-of-pocket protections for our members.

The TA also adds several new benefits to the Health and Welfare Plan for the members of the involved unions and, importantly, it requires that the Rail Carriers will, on average, continue to pay 90% of all of our members' point of service costs.

On a matter of critical importance, the employees' monthly premium contribution is frozen at the current rate of $228.89. The frozen rate can only be increased by mutual agreement at the conclusion of negotiations in the next round of bargaining that begins on 1/1/2020.

In addition, the CBG steadfastly refu sed to accept the carriers' demands for changes to work rules that would have imposed significant negative impacts on every one of our members. As a result of that rejection, the Tentative Agreement provides for absolutely no changes in work rules for any of the involved unions.


"This Tentative Agreement provides real wage increases over and above inflation, health care cost increases far below what the carriers were demanding, freezes our monthly health plan cost contribution at the current level, provides significant retroactive pay and imposes no changes to any of our work rules," said the CBG Union Presidents. "This is a very positive outcome for a very difficult round of negotiations. We look forward to presenting the Tentative Agreement to our respective memberships for their consideration."

###

Collectively, the CBG unions represent more than 85,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations' national agreements, and comprise over 58% of the workforce that will be impacted by the outcome of the current bargaining round.

 

NMB NOMINEES AND LABOR TALKS

 Advance Written by  Released Railage 9/18/2017 

 

 
NMB nominees and labor talks advance
 

Senate confirmation of two new Republican members to the three-member National Mediation Board (NMB), and confirmation of a Democrat to a third NMB term, is anticipated in the next few weeks. The NMB will then be under Republican control for the first time since 2009.

The confirmations may coincide with emergence of a tentative new agreement on wages, benefits and work rules between most major railroads and one of the three labor-union coalitions with which the carriers are bargaining. The major railroads include BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific. Amtrak, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific bargain separately, but many smaller railroads are included.

Republicans Gerald W. (Trey) Fauth III and Kyle Fortson were nominated by President Trump earlier this year, but Senate action has been on hold pending nomination of a Democrat. That came Sept. 15, with nomination of Linda A. Puchala to a third term. She had been nominated twice previously by President Obama, with the first of her two previous Senate confirmations coming in 2009.

Separately, an outline of a new five-year wage, benefits and work rules agreement between the railroads’ collective bargaining arm, the National Railway Labor Conference, and one of the three labor-union coalitions with which railroads have been bargaining is said to have emerged from contract talks that began in January 2015. The Railway Labor Act provides that existing agreements remain in force until new ones are forged.

The 13 rail labor unions, bargaining as part of three separate coalitions, represent some 145,000 rail workers. The coalitions have bargained under what many of their leaders consider a dark cloud of national politics. Absent a voluntary settlement, the NMB could declare a bargaining impasse. That would allow President Trump to name a Presidential Emergency Board to make non-binding settlement recommendations that could be converted to a legislatively-imposed result by a conservative Republican- controlled Congress – a potential especially unsettling to unions.

The outline of a tentative agreement with the largest of the three labor-union coalitions – representing almost 60% of affected employees including train and engine workers, signal workers and dispatchers – is said to provide a wage boost over five years and impose greater employee cost-sharing of healthcare insurance premiums. All three coalitions have been bargaining with the aid of NMB mediators.

Even with a tentative agreement with one of the union coalitions, two other coalitions remain in negotiations. And craft-by-craft membership ratification is required of every tentative agreement, which is a multi-month process. There has not been a national rail work stoppage since 1992.

If confirmed by the Senate, Fauth would succeed Democrat Harry Hoglander, who was first nominated to the NMB by President George W. Bush in 2002, making Hoglander the third-longest serving NMB member in the agency’s 83-year history. Fortson would succeed Republican Nicholas Gaele, who voluntarily departed the NMB earlier this year to become chief of staff to Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta.

Fauth has been associated with railroad economics and consulting since 1978 at G.W. Fauth & Associates, founded in 1957 by his late father, and of which he is now president. For four years, he was chief of staff to Surface Transportation Board Republican member Wayne O. Burkes, where he was involved with labor arbitration and dispute resolution arising from rail mergers and the resultant harmonizing of separate collective bargaining agreements. He earned an undergraduate degree in history and government from Hampden Sydney College.

Fortson has been labor policy director and labor counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee since 2004. She previously was a policy analyst for the Senate Republican Policy Committee, and legislative counsel to Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.) and Rep. Spencer Bauchus (R-Ala.). She earned an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Colorado, and a law degree from The George Washington University.

Puchala was a NMB senior mediator for 10 years prior to becoming a Senate-confirmed member in 2009, and has skills in alternative dispute resolution. Previously, she was president of the Association of Flight Attendants. Puchala earned an undergraduate degree in business from Cleary University.

The HELP Committee is not expected to hold a public confirmation hearing. Instead, the nominees will meet informally with senators who extend such invitations. The HELP Committee will then vote on whether to send the three names – which is expected owing to no interest in a formal committee hearing – to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote.

As an independent (from the Executive Branch) regulatory agency, the NMB administers the Railway Labor Act that applies equally to interstate freight, passenger and commuter railroads, and interstate airlines. The NMB provides mediation in collective bargaining disputes, voluntary alternative dispute resolution programs, binding arbitration to resolve contract interpretation and employee discipline disputes, and establishes rules for conducting union representation elections.

One controversial issue the NMB could face is whether to establish a fee schedule for resolving contract interpretation and employee discipline disputes. Where airlines and their unions share those costs of such arbitration, taxpayers fund those activities for railroads and their unions, at an estimated $1.2 million annual cost for arbitrator fees, travel, meals and lodging. Advocates say shifting those costs to the users will eliminate the filing of frivolous grievances.

In 2004, a Republican controlled NMB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing such fees. Railroads were supportive; rail labor unions opposed. While Republican member Read Van deWater voted to finalize the rule, Democrat Hoglander voted “no.” For 18 months, until he departed the NMB, Republican Edward Fitzmaurice abstained from voting. The rule was never finalized. It could be advanced again by the incoming Republican majority.

BNSF RAILWAY MECHANICAL INCENTIVES

BNSF is pleased to announce we are offering hiring incentives to the successful and eligible candidate(s) selected for Mechanical positions within our company. 


PROGRAM GUIDELINES & INCENTIVE
The program is for Mechanical External Hires requiring relocation because of the distance from the candidate’s home address  to our location. We also have External Hires incentives for jobs located in Alliance, Nebraska and Chicago, Illinois. The positions in Alliance, NE and Chicago, IL do not require individuals to relocate for the incentive.

Certified External Candidates (Journeyman Card)

• $15k paid in 3 separate payments
o $5k successful completion of probationary period and confirmation that the move has occurred (if applicable)
o $5k at the beginning of the second year
o $5k at the beginning of the third year
• This offer will include a 3 year hold-down.  Leaving the location or job for any reason will result in 100% repayment and forfeiture of future payments.
• If a move is required it will also include:
o One-way mileage at the current BNSF rate for up to 2 vehicles
o U-Haul (or similar) rental of up to $1000 paid by the company
o A lodging lump sum at the new location of $2500

Non-Certified External Candidates (Apprentice Program in Process)

• $10k paid in 2 separate payments
o $5k successful completion of probationary period and confirmation that the move has occurred (if applicable)
o $5k at the beginning of the second year
• This offer will include a 3 year hold-down.  Leaving the location or job for any reason will result in 100% repayment and forfeiture of future payments.
• If a move is required it will also include:
o One-way mileage at the current BNSF rate for up to 2 vehicles
o U-Haul (or similar) rental of up to $1000 paid by the company
o A lodging lump sum at the new location of $2500

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

• To be eligible, a candidate must be offered a position and successfully complete the pre-employment process
• Mechanical Journeyman Hires (Machinist, Carman, Sheetmetal Worker and Boilermaker) must provide documentation of Journeyman status for the same craft (at time of conditional offer)
• Electrician Mechanical Journeyman Hires must provide documentation of Railroad Journeyman status for the same craft (at time of conditional offer)
• All Mechanical Apprentice Hires must provide documentation showing he/she is actively enrolled in an Apprentice program for the same craft (at time of conditional offer)

**All interested candidate must apply at BNSF.com/careers. Additional information will be provided to candidates selected to interview.”

 

 

Donation pic

Picture from left to right:
Recording Secretary Andrew Wiater, Secretary Treasurer Mark Kufahl and President Shaun O'Connor
 

On August 29th & 30th 2017, International President (IP) Robert Martinez and General Vice President (GVP) Sito Pantoja requested support from all Local Lodges to make donations to the IAMAW Disaster Relief Fund. Shortly after we also received a request for assistance from District 19.

On September 14th, a motion was made during our monthly meeting to make a donation of $10,000. The membership voted unanimously to approve the donation.

The Officers and members of L.L. 498 feel there is no choice but to help our Sisters and Brothers in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and the Montana, and other Western State wild fires.

I am extremely proud of all the members of L.L. 498. I hope that their generosity will prompt all other Local Lodges to do whatever possible to support our Sisters and Brothers in their time of need.

On Behalf of All Members of L.L. 498

Shaun O’Connor

President L.L. 498

 

IAM District Lodge 19 in conjunction with the International Headquarters of IAM&AW have a Disaster Relief Program.  There are ways to donate and guidelines to request assistance.  Please contact your Servicing General Chairman for details on how to get assistance.  To contact your Servicing General Chairman go to Contact Us on the Home Page. If you do not know who your Servicing General Chairman is you may contact the District Lodge Office.

NOTE:  Those who are serviced by General Chairman Derrick Battle may contact Jim Davis as Derrick is immediately affected by the Disaster in Houston, TX

Union Pacific Railroad has posted Diesel Mechanic and Apprentice positions for North Platte, NE.  There are approximately 20 positions available. To see the jobs available go to UP.jobs and apply.

 

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