If tentative wages, benefits and work rules agreements reached between rail labor unions and most Class I railroads (and many smaller ones) fail to be ratified by union members in coming weeks, might leadership of those unions override a majority “no” vote and unilaterally impose the tentative agreement or, alternatively, submit it to binding arbitration rather than pursue further collective bargaining or authorize a strike?
When President Biden met with the railroad and union leaders in the Oval Office after a deal was struck, he characterized the tentative agreement reached by the parties as “an important win
FINANCIAL EDGE, RAILWAY AGE SEPTEMBER 2022 ISSUE: An industry patiently waited to find out who will blink first in the complicated chess match between labor, railroad and government. The 30-day period for
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) on Sept. 15 reported that “tentative agreements have been reached with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BLET), the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD), and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS). Collectively representing approximately 60,000 employees, the tentative agreements reached with these unions avert a potential strike in advance of Friday’s deadline.”
American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) President Chuck Baker on Sept. 10 sent a letter to Congressional leadership outlining the impact of a freight rail strike on the U.S. transportation network and the economy and urged Congress to “immediately step in and avert a system shutdown by legislatively implementing Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) recommendations,” should a voluntary agreement not be reached by the end of the Railway Labor Act (RLA) mandated “cooling off’ period on Sept. 15.
As the clock ticks toward a nationwide rail shutdown as early as Sept. 16—the first in more than three decades and similarly owing to an inability of labor and management to reach a negotiated settlement over amending contracts covering wages, benefits and work rules—frustration is growing, the Biden Administration has inserted itself in the dispute, committees of Congress are showing interest, and economic-damage estimates for the economy, railroads, unions and workers are being calculated.
A report released on Sept. 8 by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) has found that a nationwide rail shutdown would “dramatically impact economic output” and could cost more than $2 billion per day.
The Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), along with the other 10 unions involved in national bargaining, met on Aug. 22 via Zoom, followed by in-person meetings held on Aug. 25 and Aug. 26 in Chicago, to “determine if Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) No. 250’s recommendations could serve as a basis for a tentative agreement,” SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson and BLET President Dennis Pierce announced in an Aug. 27 joint statement.
Railroads represented by the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC) resumed negotiations Aug. 22 with a coalition representing all 12 rail labor unions following release Aug. 18 of Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) No.
My name is Michael Paul Lindsey II. I am a 17-year employee of Union Pacific in Pocatello, Idaho. I would like to humbly contribute my opinion on the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board 250, and to also thank you for clarifying a few critical industry stances that employees and regulators will use when they inevitably bring your industry to heel in the upcoming months and years.