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Rail News: Labor

TCU/IAM criticizes FAA bill's rail labor implications; UTU scores organizing win and ratifications


A proposed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill would provide long-term FAA funding at the expense of railroad workers’ collective bargaining rights, said Transportation Communications Union/IAM (TCU/IAM) National President Robert Scardelletti in a statement issued yesterday.

The bill includes changes to the Railway Labor Act that would require the support of at least 50 percent of an employee group before a union representation election could be held, he said. Currently, there’s no statutory requirement, but National Mediation Board (NMB) policy sets a 35 percent threshold. Other private sector workers who fall under the National Labor Relations Act need only 30 percent to trigger an election, said Scardelletti.

The bill also would “encumber the NMB with onerous oversight by the Comptroller General, which could seriously impede the board’s abilities under its mediation functions and in its role in railroad arbitrations,” he said. TCU/IAM — which represents about 46,000 workers, mostly rail employees — can’t support any legislation that dilutes the NMB’s authority or sacrifices railroad workers’ rights, said Scardelletti.

“In developing this greatly flawed proposal, there was no consultation with rail labor or management, the two groups who worked with Congress to write the Railway Labor Act more than 75 years ago,” he said. “It makes no sense to tie changes to the Railway Labor Act to an aviation safety bill.”

Meanwhile, the NMB announced that United Transportation Union (UTU) members ratified an agreement with the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District covering conductors, collectors and engineers. The UTU also announced it won an organizing election to represent maintenance-of-way workers at RailAmerica Inc.’s Missouri & North Arkansas Railroad. In addition, UTU-represented engineers, collectors and engineers employed at Anacostia & Pacific Co. Inc.’s Chicago South Short & South Bend Railroad ratified a new two-year agreement.

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More News from 1/27/2012