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Rail News: Labor
No new labor accord yet between union bargaining group, carriers' conference
Representatives from a coalition of six rail labor unions and the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC) met for three days in late June but were unable to reach a new national agreement.
Known as the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG), the union coalition includes the American Train Dispatchers Association; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers; National Conference of Firemen and Oilers/SEIU; and SMART Transportation Division. The unions represent more than 85,000 railroad employees covered by various national agreements, while the NCCC represents the labor interests of the Class Is.
At the late June meetings, the NCCC presented "new, onerous" bargaining positions that would require union-represented workers to pay more toward their monthly insurance premiums and create "drastic changes" in the amount an average employee would pay for medical services, CBG officials said in a press release. The carriers also proposed below-standard general wage increases with no retroactive pay and, for certain crafts, "harmful work rule changes" that would cause some employees to do more work for less pay, they said.
"It is clear from the carriers' latest contract demands that they are emboldened by the potential of management-friendly recommendations that could come from a Presidential Emergency Board appointed by President Trump, and ultimately be imposed on the employees by a Congress that already has enacted or is pushing for changes in longstanding labor laws that protect employee rights," CBG officials said. "The carriers' latest offer is neither a fair settlement, nor a settlement that we expect our members would ratify."
The union bargaining group requested and was granted additional mediation sessions later this month to help prompt more discussions on a new agreement.
NCCC officials declined to comment on the contract negotiations.
"Our policy is not to discuss bargaining matters publicly," said NCCC and National Railway Labor Conference spokeswoman Joanna Moorhead in an email.
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.