UP: Paid Sick Leave for NCFO, BRC

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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Union Pacific (UP) is the second Class I railroad to offer paid sick leave to its employees represented by the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers (NCFO) and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen Division/TCU (BRC).

In a precedent-setting move for the railroad industry, CSX on Feb. 7 reached agreements with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) and the 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 the BRC Carmen for Fruit Growers Express Company division. The eight remaining unions, it is believed, will eventually accept the agreement.

Now, UP has reached an agreement with NCFO and BRC, “providing access of up to seven paid days to use for sickness,” effective April 1, the railroad reported via Twitter and LinkedIn on Feb. 20. The Class I’s employees “currently receive paid personal days off,” UP said.

NCFO reported that starting April 1, the number of hours of paid days for sick time off accrued for each member “shall be prorated to 24 hours in 2023. In 2024, each NCFO member will accrue 32 hours of paid sick time. Each NCFO member shall be permitted to use paid sick time in a minimum of half day or one day increments.”

BRC reported that the agreement “provides up to four days of paid sick leave to be paid at 100% of the employees rate of pay. In addition, it also provides members with the opportunity to designate the use of their personal leave days for sick leave.”

UP said it will “continue to work with other unions to address paid sick time solutions.”

“I applaud Union Pacific for coming to the bargaining table and adjusting this wrong and making it right,” said NCFO President Dean Devita, who noted that it “is time for all the railroads to stop avoiding this issue and follow the lead of Union Pacific and join the NCFO at the bargaining table to do what is right for their employees and the NCFO members.”

“We are extremely proud of the progress that BRC continues to make on behalf of our members,” BRC General President Don Grissom said. “This agreement recognizes the need for railroad workers to have paid sick leave and secures this very important benefit for our members working at Union Pacific. Union Pacific did the right thing by coming to the bargaining table and reaching a fair agreement. We look forward to continuing to work with the other carriers to reach similar agreements for all our members.”


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.

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