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7/19/2011



Rail News: Labor

UTU: STB ruling protects wages for Manufacturers Railway workers


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A Surface Transportation Board (STB) ruling provides income protection for 12 train and engine workers employed by Manufacturers Railway Co. who might lose their jobs because of plans to discontinue or change operations at the St. Louis switching railroad, according to the United Transportation Union (UTU).

An Anheuser-Bush Cos. Inc. subsidiary, Manufacturers Railway in March sought STB permission to discontinue operations. Officials at the 124-year-old railroad asked the board not to impose labor protection for workers who would be unemployed, resting their case on a long-standing STB/Interstate Commerce Commission policy not to provide labor protection when an entire rail system is abandoned, according to the UTU.

However, the union informed the STB that the railroad planned to transfer rail operations to a third party that would remain under Manufacturers Railway and Anheuser-Busch ownership rather than completely abandon operations, UTU officials said in a news item posted on the union’s web site. In late March, Anheuser-Busch announced it selected FTRL Railway to provide rail switching services in support of St. Louis brewery operations after Manufacturers Railway ceases operation. FTRL Railway provides contract rail switching, rail management and rail consulting services.

The STB determined that income protection should be granted as a condition of discontinuing operations. Adversely affected workers will receive six years of income protection “as opposed to a guarantee of employment,” UTU officials said.


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