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
SMART Transportation Division
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.
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 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD) have filed motions for preliminary injunctions to halt BNSF’s and Metra’s vaccine mandates.
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD) have filed suit against Amtrak over implementation of its COVID-19 vaccine policy.
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the SMART Transportation Division (SMART–TD) have each filed Motions for Preliminary Injunctions against Norfolk Southern in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, “to stop the railroad from forcing locomotive engineers to work as conductors, and for disciplining those who don’t.”