NS, SMART-MD and IBEW Agree to Paid Sick LeaveWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Norfolk Southern (NS) has reached agreements with two additional labor unions for paid sick leave: the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation Workers, Mechanical Department (SMART-MD) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
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), and on Feb. 24, it included the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers (NCFO).
The new agreements, announced March 10, include up to seven paid sick days per year to approximately 650 railroaders collectively represented by SMART-MD and IBEW, NS reported. The agreements “provide four new days of paid sick leave while also offering flexibility to use up to three additional days of existing paid time off as sick leave,” according to the Class I.
“When we completed national negotiations that provided historic wage increases and platinum benefits, we committed to immediately begin work at the local level to address the desire for paid sick leave and other quality of life benefits,” NS President and CEO Alan Shaw said. “We did just that. …”
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 Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC) for paid sick leave; on Feb. 10, it added the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (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 the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Blacksmiths (IBB) in the U.S.