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Rail News: Labor

NCCC, three rail labor unions reach tentative agreements


The National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) and 11 rail labor unions are beginning to make headway with their contract negotiation differences. Yesterday, the NCCC announced it reached tentative collective bargaining agreements with the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and Transportation Communications International Union (TCU) — the first pacts to be reached after a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) issued recommendations Nov. 5 aimed at resolving longstanding contract disputes between more than 30 U.S. railroads represented by the NCCC and the 11 unions.

The tentative agreements cover about 24,000 rail employees and include terms that mirror the PEB’s recommendations, including wage increases of 20.1 percent over six years and a 1 percent bonus, TCU officials said in a prepared statement. Union officials are in the process of preparing ratification packages that will be sent to each carman and clerical member working on a railroad covered by national bargaining, they said.

Carmen Division General President Richard Johnson and TCU National President Robert Scardelletti strongly urge members to ratify the agreement because the “outstanding wage increases” plus bonus arrive at a time “when most contracts in the United States are coming in at far less,” they said in a joint statement.

“By standing tough and going to a PEB, we achieved more than we ever could have at the bargaining table,” said Scardelletti. “We also achieved more than what the carriers claimed was the pattern settlement. By any measure, this agreement delivers excellent increases in compensation while holding the line on employee health care costs.”

The NCCC declined to release details on the agreements pending ratification votes by union members.

“The railroads and unions moved quickly to implement the PEB recommendations before vital rail service is threatened,” said NCCC Chairman A. Kenneth Gradia in a prepared statement.

The NCCC previously reached agreements with the United Transportation Union and its Yardmasters Department, which together represent about 40,000 employees covered by national bargaining. The railroads now have agreements in place covering almost half of the 132,000 employees involved in the current bargaining round, according to the NCCC.

As mandated by the Railway Labor Act, the railroads and remaining eight 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.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/16/2011