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2/27/2006



Rail News: Labor

UTU files federal lawsuit to force Class Is to discuss training proposal



On Friday, the United Transportation Union (UTU) filed a lawsuit in a federal East St. Louis, Ill., district court in an attempt to force the U.S. Class Is to collectively bargain over employee training issues.

In 2002, the Class Is signed a letter of understanding, agreeing to address how entry pay rates equate to training and experience during the next national bargaining round, according to the UTU. The letter was attached to a national agreement ratified by union members.

However, at a Feb. 16 negotiating session mediated by the National Mediation Board, officials from the National Carriers’ Conference Committee — which bargains for the Class Is — “refused to agree to any date” to meet and respond to the UTU’s full training agreement proposal, said UTU International President Paul Thompson in a prepared statement. By refusing to negotiate during the current national bargaining round, the Class Is are violating their Railway Labor Act obligation to forge and maintain agreements, UTU officials claim.

Union officials want the federal court to find the Class Is have violated the labor act and issue a declaratory order requiring the railroads to meet with UTU negotiators and discuss the training proposal.


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