Unions, rails crack down on cramdowns (3/23/2001)


Seven rail labor unions and five railroads yesterday agreed on a proposal to end cramdowns, under which Surface Transportation Board has the authority to override collective bargaining agreements when approving mergers. Cramdowns have existed in one form or another since 1920.

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, Brotherhood of Railway Signalmen, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Transportation Communications International Union, Transport Workers Union, Sheetmetal Workers Union, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern Railway, Norfolk Southern Corp. and Union Pacific Railroad agreed to abide by the pact until terms are enacted into law.

Under the agreement, the involved unions will decide which collective agreement would apply if more than one labor pact is affected by a consolidation or coordination of work.

Also, railroads must give deference to a union-developed senior integration plan when senior rosters are integrated.

The unions and railroads plan to seek support for legislation that would reauthorize STB, but would oppose provisions or amendments that would adversely change the regulatory structure applicable to railroads.

Association of American Railroads President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger commends union and railroad leaders for resolving what has been a long-standing issue.

"This agreement continues to strengthen the cooperative relationship between rail labor and management," he said in a prepared statement, adding that the parties now are bonded together in their opposition to rail re-regulation.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News