Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Three more railroad unions reach labor deals

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
January 09, 2012

The once tenuous situation regarding a potential railroad strike received more good news last week, when the National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC), a concern representing more than 30 railroads, including the five United States-based Class Is, in national bargaining with the 13 major rail unions comprised of 132,000 employees, said that three more railroad unions have ratified new contracts with the Class Is.

These unions include the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The NRLC said these three unions cumulatively represent roughly 33,170 employees in collective bargaining, adding that negotiations between these unions and the National Carriers’ Conference Committee, the railroads’ bargaining representative, had been ongoing since January 2010.

In early December, the NRLC said that that the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the American Train Dispatchers Association reached tentative agreements with the railroads. These two unions represent 26,500 employees.

The sole union without a deal of any kind in place is the Brotherhood of Maintenance Way Employees (BMWE). The BMWE, though, extended its “cooling off period” with the railroads to February 8, 2012 in December.

In early November, a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) offered recommendations on contract terms for the two sides to resolve their disagreements. These recommendations included:

  • a five-year package of wage increases for a total of 15.6 percent, plus a 1 percent lump-sum signing bonus along with proposing that each union have the right to sign off on an additional 3 percent pay raise, effective January 1, 2015;

  • moving towards a restructured health and welfare plan reducing the cost of insurance for employees; and

  • freezing employee health insurance contributions at the current level of $200 per month until July 1, 2016.

The NRLC said last week that these agreements implemented PEB recommendations and brings the number of ratified contracts to seven, which accounts for about 90,000 employees.

As LM previously reported, matching legislation in December from both the House and Senate under the guidance of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), respectively, proposed to implement the recommendations of the PEB as a final agreement for the three rail unions that had not reached agreements with the railroads prior to yesterday’s developments.

Prior to these agreements, shipper groups were for these issues to be resolved in order to avoid a strike, which could have a severe impact on freight transportation.

In a letter to House all members of Congress on November 23, National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) President and CEO Bruce Carlton said that if the remaining unions do not reach an accord with management and a strike or similar job action is called, America’s freight rail system will shut down, including passenger rail systems that use freight rail track, adding that such a result would have a devastating impact on the economy and businesses of all sizes and hinder the economic recovery. Carlton also noted in the letter that economists have estimated the impact of a national rail strike at $2 billion per day.

Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and CEO Ed Hamberger said in November that if a strike were to occur, Congress under the power of the Railway Labor Act Congress would have the authority to put striking workers back to work almost immediately if it reached that point. A major reason for that is that freight railroading is considered a national defense industry, according to Hamberger.

 

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

The Department of Commerce reported that January retail sales were up 0.2 percent compared to December and up 3.7 percent annually at $449.9 billion, and the NRF reported that January retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, rose 0.6 percent over December and 1.4 percent compared to January 2015.

On the freight shipments side, Cass reported that January shipments––at 1.025––trailed December by 1.3 percent and January 2016 by 0.2 percent. These declines were less than the 4.9 percent drop from November to December, though, and January shipments still topped the 1.0 mark for the 65th straight month in December.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) saw a 0.4 percent decline from November to December, its second straight decline on the heels of a 1.0 percent decrease from October to November.

Carloads saw a 11.7 percent annual decline at 241,680, and intermodal containers and trailers rose 10.5 percent to 262,830

An amendment to the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea convention will go into effect requiring all shippers (importers and exporters) to certify and submit the Verified Gross Mass – the combined weight of the cargo and the container – to the steamship line and terminal operator in advance of loading the container aboard a vessel.

Article Topics

News · Railroad · Rail · Rail Freight · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2016 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA