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Rail News: Labor

Carriers' conference seeks to stop mediation with rail labor union coalition


The National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) and the Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition (RLBC) have reached a stalemate at the bargaining table. On Friday, the NCCC — which bargains for 32 U.S. railroads, including all the Class Is — announced it asked the National Mediation Board (NMB) to release railroads from mediation with the seven-union coalition because “no discernible progress” had been made toward reaching agreements during the current round of contract negotiations.

“Vast differences between the parties still persist on virtually every significant issue,” said NCCC Chairman Robert Allen in a letter filed with the NMB.

In June, the NCCC filed applications with the NMB to begin mediation with RLBC members. The conference is negotiating separately with the United Transportation Union and four other rail labor unions.

Coalition officials claim NCCC representatives have refused to set new dates for bargaining sessions. RLBC members represent more than 85,000 rail workers.

“It is premature to refuse to bargain over the serious items both sides have placed on the table,” said Freddie Simpson, president of RLBC member the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED). “What this round of negotiations needs is patience, hard work and willingness on both sides to listen and respond meaningfully to the other’s issues.”

In addition to the BMWED, RLBC members include the Brotherhood of Engineers and Trainmen division of the Teamsters Rail Conference, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, Sheet Metal Workers International Association, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and American Train Dispatchers of America.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/19/2005