Conductors and yard workers represented by the Transportation Division of International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD)—who constitute almost the full 30% of unionized rail employees bargaining over
SMART Transportation Division
The six Class I freight railroads participating in national bargaining will begin taking steps as early as Sept. 12 to manage and secure shipments of hazardous and security-sensitive materials “in light of the possibility of a rail labor strike,” the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said the evening of Sept. 9. The SMART-Transportation Division (TD) and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen spoke out on embargoes* on Sept. 11.
Two weeks after Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) No. 250 issued its recommendations on the stalled contract negotiations between 12 rail labor unions and the carriers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers announced on Sept. 1 that it has reached a tentative agreement with the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), which represents most U.S. Class I freight railroads in national collective bargaining.
The recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) 250 regarding wages, benefits and work rules are “a vast improvement over the carriers’ previous proposals,” SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy R. Ferguson said in an Aug. 18 statement, but they “do not go far enough to provide our members with the quality of life that they have earned, and that both they and their families deserve.”
Editor’s Note: Capitol Hill Contributing Editor Frank N. Wilner, who in his roughly half-century in the railway industry worked for the New York Central, Association of American Railroads, Surface Transportation Board and
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) President Dennis Pierce and SMART Transportation Division (SMART-TD) President Jeremy Ferguson on Aug. 1 released a joint statement to their members, providing an update on the hearings of Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) No. 250, which within weeks is slated to make non-binding recommendations in the now more than 2-1/2 year-old dispute between most major railroads (and many smaller ones) and their 12 labor unions, including BLET and SMART-TD.
The heated rhetoric surrounding the impasse that national rail labor contract negotiations appears to have reached—and the threat of a strike leading to an economy-crippling rail network shutdown—shows little signs of cooling down.
Employees on Canadian Pacific’s Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern (DM&E) South; Central Maine & Quebec (CMQ) U.S. and Central Maine & Quebec Canada subsidiaries have ratified collective bargaining agreements.
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.
“Examining Freight Rail Safety” was the theme of a June 14 hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. The aim: for members “to hear from government and stakeholder witnesses about the state of freight rail safety and issues pertinent to keeping rail operations, rail workers and communities safe.” Railway Age provides a roundup.