District Lodge 19

where it all begin

NEWS

 

On Wednesday, December 9th, District Lodge 19 reached a tentative agreement with METRA Commuter Rail in Chicago, IL. "I am proud to report that the Local 498 bargaining committee and I were able to make a tentative agreement on METRA this week. We brought the Carrier to mediation for the first time since its inception and we made the changes that I believe our members will accept during the upcoming ratification process,” said General Chairman Andrew Sandberg.

This six-year tentative agreement provides for substantial wage increases with retroactive pay, a signing bonus, an increase in employer contributions to the Supplemental Retirement Plan (which will now apply retroactively), as well as increases to pay differentials and the way they are applied. Additionally, this agreement addresses members’ concerns over sick leave, personal days, vacation accrual, and an alternative work week schedule.

The tentative agreement marks the conclusion of nearly three years of negotiations. The bargaining committee includes General Chairman Andrew Sandberg, LL 498 President Shaun O’Conner and Local Chairman Dave May. Retired Machinist and former DL 19 Executive Board Member Jose Garza also served on the committee prior to his retirement. “After three tough years of negotiating, I am proud of the effort of our bargaining committee in reaching a tentative agreement with METRA,” said O’Conner.

When asked about his involvement in the collective bargaining process, Local Chairman Dave May said, “After three years of negotiating, I take pride in being part of this team. It was an excellent learning experience. I believe it will make us that much stronger and a more united brotherhood for our next negotiations. I would also like to thank retired Brother Jose Garza for all of his involvement in these negotiations.”

The group worked diligently to provide the best agreement possible for the Machinists of METRA and therefore, recommend its ratification.

 

With the reported closure of Union Pacific Railroad’s Burnham Yard in Denver, CO, District 19 went to work negotiating an agreement to protect our affected members.  The agreement was negotiated by General Chairmen Derrick Battle and Jim Davis, with Assistant to the P/DGC Rich Nadeau leading negotiations.

This agreement ensures all Machinists on the Denver roster are protected.  The agreement also ensures that members affected by Union Pacific’s transfer of work are compensated in regard to any expenses incurred as a result of relocating to North Platte, NE or Little Rock, AR.  A voluntary separation allowance is provided in the event that employees choose to end their employment with Union Pacific as well as provisions to compensate and protect employees who are retiring next year and choose not to relocate.

“This shop closure is unfortunate for our members.  The overall attitude of the Machinists is upbeat and positive despite the circumstances,” said General Chairman Derrick Battle.  “I would like to thank each member of LL 1338 for showing professionalism and confidence in District 19 to negotiate the best agreement possible.  This is truly a testament to the members of this lodge.”

Overall, this agreement provides solid protection for the Machinists of Burnham Yard.  District 19 worked hard to get the best language in order to ensure the greatest level of protection for our members.

 

In the recent weeks, many railroad Machinists have been affected by shop closures and/or furloughs. This started with the closure of CSX shops in Erwin, TN and Corbin, KY. As of yesterday, we received notice that Union Pacific’s Burnham Shop in Denver, CO is going to close as well. The railroads are citing a decline in volume of coal freight (an 80% decline in some cases) as the driving force behind these decisions.

We are currently working with our members on CSX to make sure that they are educated with regard to their Railroad Retirement Unemployment Benefits and benefits under the Employee Protection Agreement (EPA) as well as any other benefits that may be available to them. If you are a CSX employee who has been affected by these closures and have any questions regarding your benefits or how to apply, please contact your General Chairman.

Union Pacific has stated that the work performed in the Burnham shop will be transferred elsewhere on the system. This transfer of work will invoke certain labor protective provisions, therefore, General Chairmen representing Machinists on Union Pacific will be meeting with the carrier next week to start the process of negotiating a transfer of work agreement. We intend to keep our affected members updated as things progress.

District Lodge 19 remains committed to helping our members who are affected by these job losses. We intend to keep an open dialogue with the carriers in the interest of getting our members back to work.  

 

Today, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order creating a second Presidential Emergency Board to help resolve an ongoing dispute between New Jersey Transit and the NJT Rail Labor Coalition.

In the 60 days following its establishment, the Presidential Emergency Board will obtain final offers for settlement of the dispute from each side, and then produce a report to the President that selects the offer that the Board finds to be the most reasonable.  The Board’s report is not binding, but the party whose offer is not selected would be prohibited by law from receiving certain benefits if a work stoppage subsequently occurs.

President Obama also announced that he intends to appoint the following members to Presidential Emergency Board No. 249:

  • Joshua Javitz – Chair, Presidential Emergency Board No. 249
  • Elizabeth Neumeier – Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 249
  • Nancy E. Peace – Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 249

President Obama said, “I appreciate that these dedicated individuals have agreed to devote their talent and years of experience working on labor-management disputes to help reach a swift and smooth resolution of this issue.”

Joshua Javits, Appointee for Chair, Presidential Emergency Board No. 249

Joshua Javits is the founder of Dispute Resolution Services and has been a mediator and arbitrator since 1985.  Mr. Javits served on Presidential Emergency Boards in 2007,  2011, and 2014.  From 2007 to 2011, he served as Grievance Committee Chairman of the International Monetary Fund, and Partner at Ford & Harrison LLP from 1993 to 2001.  In 1988, Mr. Javits was appointed to be a member and Chairman of the National Mediation Board, where he served until 1993.  He also worked as a labor-management arbitrator from 1985 to 1988, an associate attorney at Mulholland & Hickey from 1983 to 1985, and a trial attorney for the National Labor Relations Board from 1978 to 1983.  Mr. Javits served as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center from 1990 to 2002.  He is on the rosters of the American Arbitration Association, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the National Mediation Board.  He is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators. Mr. Javits received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Elizabeth Neumeier, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 249

Elizabeth Neumeier has been a self-employed arbitrator since 1983.  In 1994, Ms. Neumeier served as a member on Presidential Emergency Board No. 225 and currently serves as a member of the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board.  From 1980 to 1982, she was Attorney-Advisor in the Office of Chief Counsel at the Federal Labor Relations Authority.  Ms. Neumeier served as Counsel for the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO from 1975 to 1979.  She is on the rosters of the National Mediation Board and the American Arbitration Association and is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators. Ms. Neumeier received a B.A. from New York University and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law.

Nancy E. Peace, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 249

Nancy E. Peace has been an arbitrator, mediator, and consultant since 1993.  From 2012 to 2014, Ms. Peace served as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Education Partnership.  From 1999 to 2010, she was a part-time instructor at various colleges, first at Emerson College from 1993 to 1996 and then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1999 to 2010.  From 1983 to 1993, she served as a mediator and arbitrator for the Massachusetts Board of Conciliation and Arbitration.  Prior to this role, she was an associate professor at Simmons College from 1977 to 1983. She received a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University, an M.A. from University of Michigan, and a D.L.S. from Columbia University.

 

 

On Tuesday, November 3, District Lodge 19 and our coalition partners met with the mediators from the National Mediation Board (NMB).

Both the coalition and the National Carrier’s Conference Committee (NCCC) presented their positions to the NMB.  We are now scheduled to meet again in December.  District Lodge 19 will continue to update you as more information becomes available.

 

On Friday, November 6, New Jersey Transit sent a letter to the White House, requesting a second PEB.  New Jersey Transit states, "Although the recommendations in the first Emergency Board report, No. 248, dated August 14, 2015, did not result in a resolution of dispute, we are hopeful that a second Board will assist the parties in achieving an agreement."

District Lodge 19 will continue to keep you updated as this matter progresses.  To view the letter from NJT, click here.

 

On October 13, District Lodge 19 and our coalition partners applied for Mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB). Mediation was docketed the following day and Senior Mediator Terri Brown and Mediator Jane Allen were assigned by the NMB to mediate our negotiations with the National Carrier’s Conference Committee (NCCC).

Mediation will begin next Tuesday, November 3rd. We are hoping that, through mediation, we can make meaningful progress in this round of Negotiations that will provide solid wage increases for our members while retaining the benefits that we currently enjoy.  We will continue to update you as negotiations progress

 

Beginning October 1, 2015, the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will reduce railroad unemployment and sickness insurance benefits by 6.8 percent, down from the current 7.3 percent reduction, due to federal budget cuts required by law.

The adjusted reduction amount is based on revised projections of benefit claims and payments under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act. It will remain in effect through September 30, 2016, the end of the fiscal year. Reductions in future fiscal years, should they occur, will be calculated based on applicable law.

The daily benefit rate is $72, so the 6.8 percent reduction in railroad unemployment and sickness benefits will reduce the maximum amount payable in a 2-week period with 10 days of unemployment from $720.00 to $671.04.

Certain railroad sickness benefits are also subject to regular tier I railroad retirement taxes, resulting in a further reduction of 7.65 percent. Applying the 6.8 percent reduction to these sickness benefits will result in a maximum 2-week total of $619.71.

These reductions are required under the Budget Control Act of 2011 and a subsequent sequestration order to implement the mandated cuts. The law exempts social security benefits, as well as railroad retirement, survivor, and disability benefits paid by the RRB, from sequestration.

When sequestration first took effect in March 2013, railroad unemployment and sickness benefits were subject to a 9.2 percent reduction. Under the law's requirements, this amount was then adjusted to 7.2 percent in October 2013, and 7.3 percent in October 2014.

In fiscal year 2014, the RRB paid $11.9 billion in retirement and survivor benefits to about 562,000 beneficiaries, and net unemployment-sickness benefits of $84.4 million to nearly 25,000 claimants.

 

Source: RRB.GOV (http://www.rrb.gov/opa/pr/pr1508.asp)

 

CSX Corporation and two leading mechanical unions, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), announced a landmark partnership on Sept. 28, 2015, “that will enhance benefits for CSX employees and further improve productivity.”

“This agreement is part of CSX’s focus on promoting a flexible workforce to meet changing business demands, and developing opportunities to retain and support our highly skilled workforce,” said Cressie Brown, Vice President, Labor Relations, CSX.

Under the tentative agreement, which is being submitted for ratification, members of the IAM and SMART unions will be able to perform a variety of assigned work beyond the traditional boundaries of craft or union affiliation. Covered employees will see increased pay through an hourly skill differential, enhanced ability to retain employment, benefits and connection to railroad retirement and an ability to perform additional locomotive rebuild work in-house with CSX employees. This new agreement builds on the success of a similar work-sharing structure implemented at the company’s Huntington Locomotive Shop in 2013, CSX says.

“This new agreement is the result of tireless work between representatives from IAM, SMART and CSX, and demonstrates our collective commitment to finding innovative ways to support our employees while driving long-term efficiency,” said Lisa Mancini, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. “I applaud our union partners for working so closely with us through the lengthy discussions that began in 2013 at our Huntington Locomotive Shop.”

SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr. added, “This agreement enhances job opportunities, job security and our members’ ability to transfer across the system, while also improving training and supporting skill development. Across the board, we are taking an innovative look at building relationships that support our common interests now and into the future.”

“This tentative agreement provides new options for CSX employees, giving them more control of their careers, by expanding on the efficiencies gained from our previous partnership at Huntington, West Virginia while providing CSX with the tools they need to have the most efficient locomotive maintenance team in the industry,” said Jeff Doerr, IAM President and Directing General Chairman.

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