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RAIL EMPLOYMENT

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11/17/2011



Rail News: Labor

NCCC reaches tentative agreement with IBEW


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A day after announcing it reached tentative agreements with three rail labor unions, the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) announced it forged another tentative pact. Yesterday, the committee said it reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

The more than 30 U.S. railroads represented by the NCCC now have six tentative or signed agreements in place, including four tentative pacts reached after a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) issued recommendations Nov. 5. The agreements cover the majority of the 132,000 rail employees affected by the current bargaining round. In addition to the IBEW, the NCCC reached agreements with the United Transportation Union and its Yardmasters Department, the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and Transportation Communications International Union.

The tentative agreements cover wage, benefit and other issues; details weren’t released pending ratification votes by union members, NCCC officials said in a prepared statement.

However, IBEW officials announced the tentative pact calls for cumulative general wage increases of 20.1 percent over a six-year period, a 1 percent lump-sum payment and employee monthly health care cost sharing contained at $200 per month through June 2016. The contract mirrors the PEB recommendations and exceeds what railroads claimed should be a “pattern settlement,” IBEW officials said in a prepared statement, adding that no work rule concessions were made and they are encouraging members to ratify the agreement.

“The last two years of negotiations have been difficult to say the least. However I believe the agreement reached today, based on the recommendations of the PEB report, is a decent agreement,” said IBEW President Ed Hill.

As mandated by the Railway Labor Act, the railroads and remaining seven rail labor unions are in a 30-day “cooling off” period, expiring Dec. 6, during which they can negotiate voluntary settlements, but not issue any lock-outs or strikes. The settlements would avert any potential disruptions to rail service, NCCC officials said.

Union Pacific Railroad officials remain optimistic that agreements will be reached with the remaining unions before the cooling off period ends, said UP Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales Jack Koraleski in a letter to customers dated Nov. 15.

"When Railway Labor Act procedures have failed to produce agreements, Congress has historically stepped in to prevent or quickly terminate potentially crippling strikes," he wrote. "A national strike last arose from national bargaining in 1992 and Congress acted immediately to end it.”


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