District Lodge 19

where it all begin

NEWS

 

After more than five years of tough negotiations, the 13-union New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition, which includes IAM District Lodge 19, has reached a tentative agreement with New Jersey Transit.  The agreement comes less than two days from a strike that would have shut down New Jersey's commuter railroad.

This announcement will certainly come with a sigh of relief for the commuters of New Jersey and more importantly, the 4000+ union workers that have been without a contract since 2011.  The union workers are the real winners here.

"I would like to thank our Machinists in Local Lodge 1041, Assistant President John Lacey and General Chairman Gary Naylor as well as the entire coalition for standing together in solidarity and reaching an agreement to avert a work stoppage.  All parties involved have shown tremendous commitment and dedication to our cause," said DL19 P/DGC Jeff Doerr.  "Additionally, I would like to extend a special thanks to General Vice President Sito Pantoja and his staff for all of their support throughout this process.  This is a team effort and when we stick together, everyone wins!"

District Lodge 19 would like to recognize Local Lodge 1041 Local Chairman Mark Perez, Vice Local Chairman and Lead Strike Captain Brian Lock, President Mike Decio, Secretary-Treasurer Charles Lombardi and Recording Secretary Sean Fritze for their involvement throughout this painstakingly long process.  Thanks to each of you for staying the course and looking out for the best interests of your membership.

The tentative agreement will be put forth to the members for ratification in the coming weeks.

More details will follow as they become available.

 

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Please see this important press release from the New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition.

 

 

 (click for full size document)

NJTUnionCoalitionPressRelease

 

Brothers and Sisters,

As your strike date approaches, rest assured that you have the support of District Lodge 19 as well as the entire IAM!  Please see the following letters:

 

NJT PDGCDoerrNJT GVPPantoja

 

 

 

With just over a week to go before a possible strike, 1000+ NJ Transit workers rallied in Woodbridge, NJ on Saturday.  The New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition, which includes the IAM, called for a resolution to the five year dispute with NJT.  Several elected officials also called on state leaders to accept the recommendations from Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) 249, which sided with our coalition.

NJT Workers at RallyWhile our coalition wasn't able to reach an agreement in Washington, D.C. last week, the National Mediation Board (NMB) said the talks were "positive and constructive".  We are meeting again today in Newark in hopes of reaching an agreement that will advert the looming work stoppage.

"I hope that today's talks lead to a voluntary agreement which reflects the hard work and dedication of our members on New Jersey Transit.  We would much rather reach a settlement at the bargaining table than on the picket line.  However, we will take any and all measures necessary to ensure that our members get a fair agreement," said P/DGC Jeff Doerr.  "I'd like to thank my AP/DGC John Lacey and General Chairman Gary Naylor as well as the NJT Rail Labor Coalition for all of their hard work throughout this round of bargaining."

 

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The National Mediation Board (NMB) convened a public interest meeting in Washington, D.C. on Friday, March 4, 2016 with New Jersey Transit and the New Jersey Rail Labor Coalition in order to assist the parties in reaching a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
 
While the discussions were positive and constructive, no agreement was reached. The parties assured the National Mediation Board (NMB) that discussions will continue in the upcoming week.
 
We will continue to update you as new developments occur.

 

The Carrier has indicated that they intend to serve notice to abolish several Rapid Responder positions on or about March 1, 2016.  Additionally, notice to abolish some shop positions is expected to be released on or about March 15, 2016.  BNSF has communicated that it is their desire for affected employees to look for work opportunities at other locations where the Carrier is in need of people.  For more details, please see this letter from BNSF.

Our General Chairmen will be working closely with the Carrier as well as the Local Lodges of the affected members to ensure that our members stay informed as well as to educate them on any protections or benefits they may be entitled to.  District Lodge 19 remains committed to minimizing the impact these furloughs will have on our members.

We intend to keep you updated as we receive more information.  If you have any questions, please contact your General Chairman.

 

This week, District Lodge 19 and our coalition partners met with the National Carrier’s Conference Committee (NCCC). We presented our proposals under Attachment “C”, which covers improvements to vacation, holidays, personal leave, bereavement as well as the inclusion of sick days. We are now waiting the NCCC’s response to these proposals.

Prior to this week, we had been discussing health and welfare. With no agreement between our coalition and the NCCC on this topic, the decision was made to move on while the mediators await economic reports from both sides of the table. Additional meetings are scheduled for March, April, May and June.

“Negotiating under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), is a process that has been good for railroaders over the years. Nevertheless, it can be an extremely lengthy process when compared to negotiating under the National Labor Relations Act. I appreciate your patience as we work toward an agreement that rewards our members for their hard work and dedication in keeping America moving,” said P/DGC Jeff Doerr.

We will continue to update you as we move through this lengthy process.

 

Where Talks Stand:

Negotiations were held February 3. No progress was made.

 

The Rail Labor Coalition continued to propose what Presidential Emergency Board 249 recommended:

  • 18.4% in compounded wage increases over six and a half years.

  • Health insurance contributions increasing to 2.5% of an employee’s weekly straight time earnings.

 

New Jersey Transit refused to change its unacceptable proposal in any way, even though it had been rejected by two Presidential Emergency Boards:

  • 10.9% in compounded wage increases over seven years.

  • Radically higher employee health insurance contributions, that would rise to an average cost of $460 per month, with families paying as much as $642 a month.

 

Why a Strike is Likely:

Negotiations will continue. But we cannot accept anything close to the draconian increases in health insurance payments that NJT is demanding, which would effectively wipe out the paltry wage increases the company is offering. And NJT shows no signs of improving its offer.

 

What You Can Do:

Prepare yourself economically. At 12:01 am on Sunday, March 13, every union on New Jersey Transit will strike if no agreement is reached. The company is likely to simultaneously announce a lock-out. Once a strike begins, no one knows how long it will last. If you do not want to be paying the extreme insurance contributions that NJT is demanding, you must be prepared to strike for as long as it takes for NJT to come to its senses.

Don’t listen to rumors. Already there have been erroneous reports of President Obama ending a strike after one day. That will not happen. Only Congress has the power to end the strike through legislation, and it is highly unlikely to do so. Get your information from your union representatives. Attend all meetings.

When the time comes, sign up for picket duty. Picket captains are being designated now. Every location will be picketed.

 

Railroad Retirement Unemployment Benefits:

Because the unions’ final offer was selected as the “most reasonable” by PEB 249, strikers will be eligible for Railroad Retirement unemployment benefits. However, there is a fourteen day waiting period. If the strike should continue past two weeks, benefits will be $671.04 every subsequent two week period. You can apply on-line at www.rrb.gov. But you must first have an RRB online account. Apply for one now at the same RRB web site.

 

As Long As We Stay United, We Will Prevail:

New Jersey Transit is solely responsible for this mess. Every previous round we have reached fair contracts without strikes – contracts that each union’s membership has ratified. But this time is different. Five years ago NJT laid down the gauntlet when it demanded five-fold increases in employee health contributions. They have not changed their position yet, despite rulings in our favor by two neutral Presidential Emergency Boards. If there is a strike, it will be entirely NJT’s fault.

You deserve a fair contract – a contract similar to those achieved by our brothers and sisters on our neighbor commuter lines, Metro North and Long Island Rail Road. That’s all we are asking. That is why, for the first time ever, every union on NJT has come together in a bargaining coalition.

We will remain united until we achieve a contract that you deserve.

 

SOLIDARITY - UNITY - ECONOMIC JUSTICE

 

 

Talks between the eleven unions in the NJT Rail Labor Coalition and negotiators from New Jersey Transit continued today, but no agreement was reached. Both sides pledged to continue negotiating.

 

Today’s talks were the first since Presidential Emergency Board 249 selected the unions’ final offer as the “most reasonable”.

 

Under Section 9a of the Railway Labor Act, which is the law covering NJT commuter rail workers, the cooling off period expires 12:01 am on March 13. If no deal is reached by then, the unions can strike and/or NJT can lock its workers out. A strike or lockout can only be ended by the parties agreeing to a settlement, or Congress passing a law to end the dispute, which both sides believe would be highly unlikely.

 

The unions adopted the impartial recommendations of President Emergency Board 248 as our final offer. The recommendations call for a contract averaging 2.5% a year coupled with significant increases in employee health care contributions. NJT’s offer is for 0.6% net wage increases per year. The two Presidential Boards consisted of six experienced and expert arbitrators appointed by President Obama.

                                                                                                  

Coalition spokesmen said, “The last thing we want is a strike. We have gone five years without a contract. Our settlement proposal is modest and fair. All we are asking is what has been recommended by two expert neutral panels. Congress changed the Railway Labor Act to try to prevent commuter work stoppages by having a second PEB recommend the most reasonable offer, with penalties imposed on the side that doesn’t accept the recommendationThat has almost always led to a settlement. Yet now NJT refuses. We call upon NJT to end this dispute without disruption to the riding public.”

 

The Coalition includes every rail union on NJT, representing more than 4,000 commuter workers.

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