Three more railroad unions reach labor deals

The once tenuous situation regarding a potential railroad strike received more good news last week, when the National Railway Labor Conference said that three more railroad unions have ratified new contracts with the Class Is.

By ·

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, 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. Contact Jeff Berman

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!

Article Topics

Rail · Rail Freight · Railroad · All Topics
Hub Group Resources
Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
Click here to download
Latest Whitepaper
The View from the New “Single Window”
The single window, officially known as the "International Trade Data System," operates via the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency's Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) platform, and serves as a single point of contact for all trade filings.
Download Today!
From the March 2017 Issue
WMS vendors are stepping up to the plate and developing functionalities and solutions that meet the complex needs of today’s companies. Our top analysts take a peek into these developments and discuss the DC of the future and the software that will support it.
5 Supply Chain Trends Happening Now
2017 Warehouse/DC Equipment Survey: Investment up as service pressures rise
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2017 Trucking Regulations & Infrastructure Update
In this session our panel brings shippers up to date on the state of transportation regulations. Discussion will revolve around regulatory reform, aspects of the federal highway bill and what the transportation landscape looks like in the early days of the Trump administration.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...

2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...
Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...