BNSF on Sept. 18 reported reaching a tentative agreement with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division-International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED) that includes paid sick days.
The agreement, which builds on existing BNSF paid time off and sickness benefits, is subject to ratification and part of “larger discussions about modernizing the work environment,” according to the Class I railroad.
BNSF would provide four paid sick days annually to every qualifying maintenance-of-way employee, plus three paid personal days could be used as paid sick time off, BMWED reported. If a BMWED member does not use the entirety of their entitled paid sick leave, the union noted, they can either contribute it to their 401(k) contributions through BNSF’s retirement program or cash it out for straight time wage.
“With a successful conclusion of the BMWED agreement, BNSF will have negotiated paid sick day and work modernization agreements with all 12 labor unions that represent BNSF employees,” BNSF said.
“This agreement took a lot of hard work and diligence from the membership and notably from the four General Chairmen on the property and I want to thank them for their steadfast commitment to seeing this across the finish line,” said BMWED Northwest Vice President Staci Moody-Gilbert, a 2022 Railway Age Women in Rail honoree who will be speaking at the 2023 Railway Age / RT&S Women in Rail conference, to be held Nov. 2 in Chicago. “This is obviously a great success for our union, and I am glad that BNSF recognized the importance of this issue. Our members can now take time to properly address health issues as they arise without worry of financial repercussions. This agreement brings BNSF in line with the other Class I carriers who have entered into similar agreements and is a welcomed development. I congratulate the General Chairmen and the membership for obtaining this victory.”
BMWED-represented BNSF railroaders will vote on ratifying the deal in the coming weeks, according to the union.
In a related development, BNSF and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen on Aug. 1 reported agreeing to a tentative deal on paid sick leave and other work/rest options for approximately 7,500 railroaders.