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Rail unions sue Class Is over health benefit changes

The BLET is one of 12 unions that sued the Class Is over modifications to health and welfare benefits.
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Twelve rail unions, whose members and their families are covered by the NRC/UTU Health and Welfare Plan and the Railroad Employees National Health and Welfare Plan, last week filed a lawsuit against the Class Is in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

The suit asks the court to force the railroads to bargain in good faith with the unions over mandatory subjects of bargaining. The issues involved have been the subject of collective bargaining for decades and are part of the Class Is' bargaining notices served Nov. 1, 2019, under the Railway Labor Act, according to a press release issued by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), one of the 12 unions involved in the case.

At issue are the Class Is' attempts to restrict certain medications and to forcibly reconfigure health care networks, union officials said.

"If implemented without successfully negotiated application, the carriers' proposals could be extremely harmful to our members and their families," the unions' chief executives said in a joint statement. "Even more outrageous, the process they are attempting to impose would allow rail carriers to reduce employees' access to medicines and doctors in the middle of a pandemic."


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