The National Railway Labor Conference on Oct. 26 announced that an arbitrator has ruled that U.S. Class I freight railroads “may advance all but one aspect of a proposal to make network changes to the national railroad health plans.” Union leadership involved in collective bargaining with the NLRC put a different spin on it, saying, in part, “An arbitrator has rejected the railroad industry’s attempt to utilize a never-before-used contract clause imposed by Congress 30 years ago to reduce the healthcare networks available to over 250,000 railroad workers and family members on the National Healthcare Plan for Railroad Employees.”
National Carriers Conference Committee
The rail unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) involved in the current round of national negotiations on Jan. 22 issued a statement that the carriers “have not made any proposals worthy of consideration by [our] membership” as COVID-19-impacted meetings continue.
Collective bargaining between most of the nation’s largest railroads, represented by the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC), and their 12 craft-specific labor unions commenced Nov. 1 with the two sides exchanging broadly defined demands in preparation for face-to-face talks to amend contracts setting wages, benefits and work rules. Some two-dozen smaller railroads also are participating.
The incoming National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC) Chairman is Brendan M. Branon (inset), who was most recently Managing Director-Labor and Employee Relations at Delta Air Lines, the principal negotiator, attorney and company spokesman with the company’s domestic labor unions.
A National Railway Labor Conference arbitration board ruled May 23 that the pattern health care terms adopted by the freight railroads and nine of the unions in national bargaining should also apply to the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) – Mechanical Division.
As ascendancy of jaw-jaw over war-war is making even a partial national rail work stoppage less probable, an agreement this week between the freight railroads and their second largest labor union has further decreased such concern.
Members of the Transportation Communications International Union (TCU) and Brotherhood Railway Carmen (BRC) have ratified new contract terms with the nation’s major freight railroads covering more than 17,000 employees.
A tentative national agreement on wages, benefits and work rules has been reached between major railroads and seven of their 13 labor unions. Almost two-dozen unionized regionals and short lines also are participating in the talks.
The nation’s freight railroads have reached settlements with 10 of the 13 major rail unions covering more than 60% of 132,000 employees in the current round of bargaining, but a potential strike