It is more than two years since the rail industry’s 12 labor unions and management (representing most Class I railroads and some smaller ones) commenced bargaining to amend contracts defining wages, benefits and work rules.
National Carriers Conference Committee
The National Mediation Board (NMB) on June 14 set in motion a ticking time bomb toward an economy-jolting national railroad shutdown within 90 days, its two Democratic members agreeing with rail labor—and over the remonstrance of carriers and the NMB’s lone Republican—that a voluntary agreement to amend unionized rail worker wages, benefits and work rules is not within reach.
The rail unions bargaining as part of the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition* (CBC) and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way/SMART Mechanical Coalition are still calling on the National Mediation Board (NMB) to “put forth a proffer of arbitration,” following the third week of compulsory joint NMB-mediated negotiations with the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC).
The National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) on April 22 proposed “to enter interim agreements with all rail labor organizations in national handling providing for advance payments of up to $600 per month, representing amounts that are expected to be due under future national collective bargaining agreements.” While most unions had declined as of April 25, NCCC said it would “hold open the proposal” for their further consideration.
CSX on April 19 reached what it’s calling a “tentative agreement” with the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, Transportation Division (SMART-TD) to provide SMART-TD Trainmen and Yardmasters with “monthly advance payments on future wage adjustments anticipated in settlement of the 2020 round of national bargaining between rail labor and the Class I railroads.” CSX also said it “notified its other labor organization representatives that it intends to reach agreements to provide identical payments to all unionized employees.”
The National Mediation Board (NMB) has refused a request from the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Mechanical Division (SMART-MD) and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division/IBT (BMWED) to be relieved from mediation with the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC).
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters Rail Conference (BMWED) was rebuffed by a federal district court March 30 in an attempt to sever itself from multi-employer contract negotiations (national handling) in this current round of wage, benefits and work rules negotiations.
The BMWED/SMART-Mechanical Division bargaining coalition late last month petitioned the National Mediation Board (NMB) for a proffer of arbitration, requesting to be released from further mediation sessions with the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC); the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition unions support the move.
The 10 rail unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) have entered into mediation following an impasse in contract negotiations with the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC); the NCCC, representing all U.S. Class I railroads and many smaller freight and passenger lines, said that it welcomed the assistance.
Railway Age has obtained a Jan. 20 letter signed by SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson addressed to the union’s railroad general chairpersons stating that the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) and National Carriers’ Conference