NS: Paid Sick Leave Added for IBBB, IAM and BRC

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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Norfolk Southern (NS) has reached agreements with three more labor unions for paid sick leave: International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Blacksmiths (IBBB), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC).

On Feb. 22, the Class I railroad reported reaching an agreement with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division-International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED); on Feb. 24, it included the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers (NCFO); and on March 10, it added the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation Workers, Mechanical Department (SMART-MD) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

The new agreements with IBBB, announced March 15, and with IAM and BRC, announced March 14, include up four new days of paid sick leave per year for their members, while also offering flexibility to use up to three additional days of existing paid time off as sick leave, according to NS. IAM and BRC cover more than 1,350 NS mechanical and engineering railroaders.

“We continue to make strides to improve the quality of life of our craft railroaders in partnership with our unions,” NS President and CEO Alan Shaw said on March 15. “Our railroaders help drive the American economy forward, and each of these new agreements helps ensure that they have even more time to manage their personal health and well-being.”

Nine of NS’s 12 unions now have locally negotiated paid sick days, benefiting approximately 6,000 railroaders. This includes the American Association of Train Dispatchers and the Transportation Communications Union, which NS said already had access to paid sick leave benefits from prior negotiations.

The Class I reported that it “will continue to engage with local labor leaders to enhance the quality of life and work predictability for its dedicated craft railroaders.”


H.J. Res. 100, the House- and Senate-passed resolution that President Joe Biden signed into law on Dec. 2, 2022, imposed the Tentative Agreement resulting from President Emergency Board 250; it did not include paid sick leave.

While the House on Nov. 30, 2022, passed two resolutions (H.J. Res. 100 and H.Con. Res. 119) to impose on four holdout rail unions the Tentative Agreement accepted by eight others, and to amend that Tentative Agreement to include seven days of paid sick leave (that unions couldn’t gain in collective bargaining), the Senate on Dec. 1, 2022 agreed only to impose the Tentative Agreement.

In a precedent-setting move for the railroad industry, CSX on Feb. 7 reached agreements with the BMWED and BRC for paid sick leave; on Feb. 10, it added the IAM and NCFO; and on Feb. 14, added the IAM Roadway Mechanics division and BRC Carmen for Fruit Growers Express Company division. The eight remaining unions, it is believed, will eventually accept the agreement.

Union Pacific (UP) on Feb. 20 followed suit, announcing agreements with NCFO and BRC. BNSF on Feb. 23 announced it would grant individual paid sick days to its railroaders who are members of the Transportation Communications Union (TCU) and NCFO; and on March 9 added IAM, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) and SMART-MD.

CN on March 3 reported reaching agreements with IAM, NCFO, SMART-MD and IBBB in the U.S.

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