Judge to Unions: No Strike Over BNSF Hi-Viz

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Pittman on Feb. 22 blocked the BLET (Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen) and the SMART Transportation Division—the two unions opposed to BNSF’s planned Hi-Viz worker availability policy—from striking.

BNSF “Hi-Viz” Attendance Policy Rankling Rank-and-File (UPDATED JAN. 28)

After 20 years of no changes to its attendance guidelines, BNSF, citing “today’s competitive freight environment,” plans on Feb. 1 to institute a new system called “Hi-Viz” it says is “designed to provide employees with real-time information and greater flexibility, so they can make informed decisions about their work schedules.” The two largest unions representing some 17,000 BNSF TYE (train and engine service) and Yardmaster employees, the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation union (SMART-TD) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), are—not unexpectedly—reacting negatively, calling the policy “the worst and most egregious attendance policy ever adopted by any rail carrier” and threatening a strike action, which the railroad filed suit to block.