Home Open Account Help 162 users online

Eastern Railroad Discussion > Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve svc


Pages:  [ 1 ][ 2 ] [ Next ]
Current Page:1 of 2


Date: 12/02/21 04:37
Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve svc
Author: JPB

Interesting Bill Stephens' article in Train Magazine on-line from 12/1/21 entitled "Norfolk Southern working to alleviate crew shortages and improve service"
Provocative excerpt re: NS' 5 step program to address service issues: "...and in some cases NS is routing traffic around terminals that are particularly short of crews. This adds some roundabout routes to the network, but avoids having trains held for lack of crews...."

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/norfolk-southern-working-to-alleviate-crew-shortages-and-improve-service/



Date: 12/02/21 05:48
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: Lackawanna484

American Air!lines and Southwest Air offered triple pay for employees willing to work about ten specified holiday days in Nov and Dec.

Looks like it worked for Thanksgiving rush.

Posted from Android



Date: 12/02/21 06:45
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: Juniata

The thing that puzzles me when I read stuff like this is the complaint (whining) from railroad management that todays work force is seeking a work / lifestyle balance. They wring their hands as if there is nothing they can do to address this.

Given the kind of money being paid to senior management at NS and other C1’s - ostensibly because they are the “best and brightest - one would think they’d be able to come up with a creative / thoughtful way of addressing this work / lifestyle balance. Their simpleminded approach is always to throw more money on the table rather than actually making changes in the nature of the work to address the desires of a new generation.

CW

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/02/21 07:18
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: engineerinvirginia

Juniata Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The thing that puzzles me when I read stuff like
> this is the complaint (whining) from railroad
> management that todays work force is seeking a
> work / lifestyle balance. They wring their hands
> as if there is nothing they can do to address
> this.
>
> Given the kind of money being paid to senior
> management at NS and other C1’s - ostensibly
> because they are the “best and brightest - one
> would think they’d be able to come up with a
> creative / thoughtful way of addressing this work
> / lifestyle balance. Their simpleminded approach
> is always to throw more money on the table rather
> than actually making changes in the nature of the
> work to address the desires of a new generation.
>
> CW
>
> Posted from iPhone

It's a thorny issue any way you slice it, for anything that the carrier could do must be negotiated with the unions, for off time IS a matter of agreement. (Government regulations being what they are) Then getting something everyone could go for is tricky because off time naturally decreases ones earning potential and so go getters don't want extra time off and will oppose any effort to force them to take off....so any plan has to be voluntary....it also has to be flexible since the carrier cannot under any cirumstance scedule trains to a predictable level....if you see how things actually run, you know it's true....everything happens when it happen. 



Date: 12/02/21 07:24
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: Off-pending

NS announced today that Jim Squires is stepping down and will be replaced by Alan Shaw. Is that part of the plan?



Date: 12/02/21 08:49
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: Juniata

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Juniata Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > The thing that puzzles me when I read stuff
> like
> > this is the complaint (whining) from railroad
> > management that todays work force is seeking a
> > work / lifestyle balance. They wring their
> hands
> > as if there is nothing they can do to address
> > this.
> >
> > Given the kind of money being paid to senior
> > management at NS and other C1’s - ostensibly
> > because they are the “best and brightest -
> one
> > would think they’d be able to come up with a
> > creative / thoughtful way of addressing this
> work
> > / lifestyle balance. Their simpleminded
> approach
> > is always to throw more money on the table
> rather
> > than actually making changes in the nature of
> the
> > work to address the desires of a new
> generation.
> >
> > CW
> >
> > Posted from iPhone
>
> It's a thorny issue any way you slice it, for
> anything that the carrier could do must be
> negotiated with the unions, for off time IS a
> matter of agreement. (Government regulations being
> what they are) Then getting something everyone
> could go for is tricky because off time naturally
> decreases ones earning potential and so go getters
> don't want extra time off and will oppose any
> effort to force them to take off....so any plan
> has to be voluntary....it also has to be flexible
> since the carrier cannot under any cirumstance
> scedule trains to a predictable level....if you
> see how things actually run, you know it's
> true....everything happens when it happen. 

I cannot dispute the complexity of any possible resolution to this problem but, again, given the money railroad (and union leadership) are being paid, they SHOULD be able to find a solution.

CW



Date: 12/02/21 11:25
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: Quakerengr

engineerinvirginia has a good handle on this issue.  The Unions do not want to resolve this problem,  with options like, planned days off like the Wisconsin Central did. Reason is that it cuts the pay,  as he mentioned  from "those go getter's",  on BN we called them the "High Miler's",  asat the time we were being paid by miles, they could never get enough of them.

If the "Carriers"  (aka Railroads), agree to Calling Windows or guarenteed rest days,  they have to hire more people.  Our son worked for BNSF for 3.5 years  and with the attendance policy  and inability to plan get togethers with his friends, and family,  he resigned from the service..   In many cases,  people desire a "Quality of Life" over  "Pay"..

PWM

 



Date: 12/02/21 11:49
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: train1275

Old timers I knew called them Mileage Hogs. There were guys who wanted a better quality of life or more vacation but the new contracts would always be more $$, even when the carrier put the better quality of life on the table.

Years ago on one line I worked train service extra board  one crew in particular would roll in the yard at 12 hours by my watch, or a bit more, but 11:59 by theirs and turn around ASAP on the board chasing the $$.

 



Date: 12/02/21 11:53
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: MSE

Meteorology is, like railroading, a mission-critical business that operates 24/7. There is no question that today's workers value quality of life highly. It is questionable whether they value it more than money. I have also been on both sides of the issues as CEO and as a worker. 

This is an incredibly difficult issue because (obviously) the five-day week does not divide into 7. When we tried to fix it by going to 10 hour shifts, no one liked it. We tried to be extremely flexible and innovative with vacations and holidays. Some liked it, some did not. 

The problem is that human beings are individuals. Everyone has their own values and preferences. While I am retired, I am still a union member (honorable withdrawl). The combination of union (group) + individual dynamics makes this incredibly difficult. 

I agree that people who make big $$ should -- clearly -- be able to do better than now but there is no perfect nor nearly perfect solution. 



Date: 12/02/21 14:08
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: Lackawanna484

Good thread.

The railroads could help by issuing and honoring next train out forecasts.

Posted from Android



Date: 12/02/21 14:41
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: Juniata

Quakerengr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> engineerinvirginia has a good handle on this
> issue.  The Unions do not want to resolve this
> problem,  with options like, planned days off
> like the Wisconsin Central did. Reason is that it
> cuts the pay,  as he mentioned  from "those go
> getter's",  on BN we called them the "High
> Miler's",  asat the time we were being paid by
> miles, they could never get enough of them.
>
> If the "Carriers"  (aka Railroads), agree to
> Calling Windows or guarenteed rest days,  they
> have to hire more people.  Our son worked for
> BNSF for 3.5 years  and with the attendance
> policy  and inability to plan get togethers with
> his friends, and family,  he resigned from the
> service..   In many cases,  people desire a
> "Quality of Life" over  "Pay"..
>
> PWM
>
>  

My youngest son recently resigned from NS after four years to take a conductor job on a short line. He is recently married and in a new home and the regularity of the hours he’s working on the short line has him home every night and allows weekends for he and his wife to spend time up in the mountains or working on projects around their home or yard. And yes, he is a millennial.

When he worked in yard service at NS there were call windows and despite the physical demands and being outside in all kinds of weather, he preferred yard over main line service. NS recently cut a bunch of their yard jobs around here though and forced people back out to the main line which was one of the things that led him to pursue the short line opportunity.

CW

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/02/21 14:45
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: Lkirts

The carriers will have to pay more for less.
Quakerengr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> engineerinvirginia has a good handle on this
> issue.  The Unions do not want to resolve this
> problem,  with options like, planned days off
> like the Wisconsin Central did. Reason is that it
> cuts the pay,  as he mentioned  from "those go
> getter's",  on BN we called them the "High
> Miler's",  asat the time we were being paid by
> miles, they could never get enough of them.
>
> If the "Carriers"  (aka Railroads), agree to
> Calling Windows or guarenteed rest days,  they
> have to hire more people.  Our son worked for
> BNSF for 3.5 years  and with the attendance
> policy  and inability to plan get togethers with
> his friends, and family,  he resigned from the
> service..   In many cases,  people desire a
> "Quality of Life" over  "Pay"..
>
> PWM
>
>  



Date: 12/02/21 15:20
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: biff

How many of those go getters that want to head back out once they have had the minimum rest will have health issues by the time they are in their 50’s ? Many of them will be old before their time.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/02/21 15:41
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: train1275

biff Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How many of those go getters that want to head
> back out once they have had the minimum rest will
> have health issues by the time they are in their
> 50’s ? Many of them will be old before their
> time.
>
> Posted from iPhone

I don't have any specific stats but many of those guys didn't end up very well as I look back. But there were a few that seemed to thrive on it and retired and
either are still alive or lived out a long time before they passed on. Genetics ?  I don't know as there were also an uncanny number that died before seeing their first retirement check and some that went out on medical or died while still working.  For me, last working in senior management, on a 24/7/365, I got out while I was still healthy. I could have gone on for another 3 years and put more jingle away in the bank but figured it was not worth it. You can't buy health. Another point is that you can't buy back the lost time with friends and family. One old time Conductor I knew said that one day he woke up and realized he had a 21 year old son. This was back when there was the 16 hour law.  It was a sobering thing to hear as a young guy looking to hire out soon. I think it really shook him and made him wonder where the years went and if it was worth it. 

I also recall 40+ years ago some of the old timers taking retirement who "lived on and for the railroad". We wondered and speculated how long they would last retired. Strange thing was one of the ones that we all thought would be lost and dead  cold real soon lived on for many more years surprising us all, or almost all as at least one guy in on that conversation retired relatively early due to a job abolishment and both him and the wife died pretty quick afterwards.

* And rereading what biff wrote above about "by the time these guys are in their 50's" - many of those guys were in their 50's or older who were doing the turn and burns. Senior guys.

Cherish the time you have and each day.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/02/21 15:44 by train1275.



Date: 12/02/21 17:09
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: Lackawanna484

Have to work to pay the alimony and child support, in some cases...



Date: 12/02/21 18:32
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: DLMech

Hey guys my first post but I could add to this thread. I work for PSE&G in NJ on the New Brunswick gas division in the appliance service. We’re pretty much like the railroad and in the last year we’ve lost 10 guys in the shop. The bosses are asking what is going on and it’s plain and simple we operate on a 7-3:30 M-F schedule however for about 9 months of the year we are forced to work overtime, there are guys who work every last hour they can and are not always subjected to the force because forcing goes by OT hours, so guys with the most OT aren’t always subjected depending on workload. I try to stay in the middle however there are times when we could work 10-12 or more hrs a day including weekends. On top of that we all have to work about 8 shifts per 6 months could a week of 1-9pm or 4-12 pm or 12-8 then the weekend shifts of 8-4 4-12 or 12-8. Our work consists of gas meters gas piping, heating, air conditioning, stoves and dryers. Then at anytime any of us can be called to a gas leak emergency.
They pay us WELL very well but guys are leaving for the same reasons as the railroad, more time at home with family and friends and we’re having a hard time trying to get seasoned techs to come here let alone hiring young apprentices. Most young apprentices leave within the first year because of the job demands. But even the old timers say all the time there getting tired of the forced OT. And they continue to give us more money every contract but I unfortunately don’t think it’s going to get better it’ll only get worse.

Posted from iPhone



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/02/21 18:34 by DLMech.



Date: 12/03/21 07:45
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: Lackawanna484

Good first post.

Employee benefits like medical, pension, training, etc often add 30% to 60% in costs over straight salary. So, employers try to avoid adding staff. Easier and cheaper to force overtime.

That's one reason why extra or reserve boards are so controversial. Same with hard caps on overtime.

Posted from Android



Date: 12/03/21 10:57
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: wyeth

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Good first post.
>
> Employee benefits like medical, pension, training,
> etc often add 30% to 60% in costs over straight
> salary. So, employers try to avoid adding staff.
> Easier and cheaper to force overtime.
>
> That's one reason why extra or reserve boards are
> so controversial. Same with hard caps on overtime.
>
>
> Posted from Android

But this doesn't give them any flexibility - though it does fit their PSR mantra of working assets to their max.  This same thinking is also a major reason why the supply chain has broken down - everything pushed to their limits for profit, it's bound to reach breaking point sometime.



Date: 12/03/21 11:19
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: wyeth

Quakerengr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> engineerinvirginia has a good handle on this
> issue.  The Unions do not want to resolve this
> problem,  with options like, planned days off
> like the Wisconsin Central did. Reason is that it
> cuts the pay,  as he mentioned  from "those go
> getter's",  on BN we called them the "High
> Miler's",  asat the time we were being paid by
> miles, they could never get enough of them.
>
> If the "Carriers"  (aka Railroads), agree to
> Calling Windows or guarenteed rest days,  they
> have to hire more people.  Our son worked for
> BNSF for 3.5 years  and with the attendance
> policy  and inability to plan get togethers with
> his friends, and family,  he resigned from the
> service..   In many cases,  people desire a
> "Quality of Life" over  "Pay"..

However, a lot has changed in the working environment of the railroad operating employees now.  There definitely was a time when it seemed like the unions and employees were often "their own worst enemies", seemingly only focused on how to work more so one could make more, and more, money.  Part of the changes has been to what has been talked a lot here on this thread where many people now desire "quality of life" over "more pay" (that's probably assuming they now have a pretty stable financial situation).  In addition, government regulations has also changed this "working more for more pay" thinking because these regulations now force a limit to how much one can work, through maximum amount of time one can work a month and maximum number of consecutive days one can work.

Another thing that has changed, at least fairly recently with the carrier I work for, is how the carriers pretty much now just arbitrarily force changes to labor agreements, especially in the many areas where those agreements are vague and they can push the interpretations of the agreements.  I've wondered, why can't the carriers do this in a positive way for employees, create a way that truely benefits the "quality of life" for the employees, but also results in a much more predictable available workforce supply; they could emphasize and push a program like that into effect.  As also what has been discussed in this thread, the shortlines seem to be doing this with good success.  One thing is clear though, the carriers are forcing many changes now, but they are doing anything but thinking about trying to benefit the employees.  It's abundantly clear that they think of operating employees as something that they feel are going to be an expense that they soon will be able to mostly get rid of through automation, so why not abuse them!



Date: 12/03/21 17:14
Re: Trains Mag Article: NS addressing crew shortages to improve s
Author: engineerinvirginia

Carriers are getting what they want by calling their changes "policy" and not agreement items.....we have, unfortunately, public law boards which have decided that indeed policy has nothing to do with agreements and policy can be promulgated as rule. We of course were astounded but powerless to object....since arbitration is our last resort. 



Pages:  [ 1 ][ 2 ] [ Next ]
Current Page:1 of 2


[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.1259 seconds