Union Pacific (UP) and General 953, part of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division (SMART-TD), have ratified a crew-consist agreement, maintaining two-person crews, SMART-TD reported May 31.
The SMART-TD members represented by the General Committee of Adjustment 953, who work on UP’s Eastern District and Pacific Northwest and Idaho territories, approved the vote by more than two-thirds (68.16% aggregate), according to SMART-TD.
The union reported that the ratified contract provides for:
- “A $27,500 signing bonus upon the contract’s ratification.
- “Continues to require the conductor’s position as being based in the cab of the locomotive.
- “30 years of protections for brakemen/switchmen who have assignments abolished.
- “Continued use of brakemen/switchmen as needed.
- “No rules changes regarding switching between road and yard crews.
- “Additional pay for assigned road and yard service performed with a reduced crew.
- “Expanded utility position that is paid $50 per hour and has a set schedule.
- “Overtime in pool freight.”
“This agreement serves to protect the train and yard service crafts and ensures these crafts as the crafts of the future,” said SMART-TD Vice President Brent Leonard, who was one of three labor leaders participating in negotiations. “SMART-TD is the only transportation craft with agreements protecting their position now and into the future and does so without tying their position to that of another craft.”
The move follows the March 25 approval of a tentative agreement. At that time, UP said if the agreement was ratified, it would close its current Section 6 Notice to redeploy conductors on this committee.
According to an Associated Press report earlier this year, UP had considered a pilot project in Nebraska “to test out how quickly a conductor based in a truck could respond to train problems and compare that to how fast the conductor aboard the train could address them.” SMART-TD “refused to agree to the plan because it believes train conductors play a crucial safety role,” reported the media outlet, which noted that “UP executives told the Federal Railroad Administration that their plan would have helped them determine how feasible it would be to reduce train crews down to just an engineer and might give the agency valuable information to consider as it weighs whether to issue a rule requiring two-person crews.”