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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Potential RR strike looms for December 9


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Date: 11/22/22 02:43
Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: JPB

The 24,000 member enginers union, BLET, ratified the PEB proposal by a decent margin (53.5% voting yes) but the 28,000 member conductors union, SMART, voted it down by only a few hundred votes (49.1% yes v. 50.9% no).

Article excerpt: "...The deals nearly got the support they needed to be ratified by both unions. One was ratified by the engineers, with 53.5% voting yes, while the other was a very slim defeat by the conductors with either a small majority or a near majority voting for ratification.
The conductors’ vote ultimately failed because the union’s rules require each of five classes of workers within the union to approve the deal for it to pass. Although 64.5% of “yardmasters,” which includes 1,300 of the union’s membership, supported the deal, 50.87% members of train and engine service members of the union voted against ratification. The union did not release the overall vote totals for SMART-TD members..."


So the final tally: 8 unions approved the PEB proposal while 4 voted it down. Hopefully an agreement will be reached before the strike deadline. 

https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/21/business/railroad-unions-votes/index.html

Here are a couple excerpts from the Wall Street Journal op-ed piece (pay wall):

"...A strike could cost 700,000 jobs across multiple industries and erase the equivalent of the past three months’ job gains, according to an analysis by the American Chemistry Council. It could also raise producer prices by 4%..."

"...Rail employees would get a 24% pay increase over five years, their biggest in 40 years. This includes an average of $16,000 in immediate back pay. They’d also retain their platinum healthcare package with a mere 15% premium contribution..."

"...A dispute over sick leave is the biggest reason for some employees’ reluctance. The tentative deal guarantees one day of paid leave to workers calling in on short notice, while the current contract offers none. After its vote, the maintenance worker union said the offer showed “management holds no regard for their quality of life..."

"...But the presidential board rejected the request for more short-term sick leave, saying current terms reflect unions’ own preference over decades of bargaining. Policies vary across each railroad, but most employees are already paid for sick days after the first four. Carriers say that guaranteeing more paid days off would upend schedules in an already understaffed industry..."

https://www.wsj.com/articles/joe-bidens-railroad-deal-falls-apart-rail-strike-union-workers-presidential-emergency-board-11669070947?mod=hp_opin_pos_1

 



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/22 02:58 by JPB.



Date: 11/22/22 05:13
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: engineerinvirginia

While a stike would be legal at this point and we stand ready should it come to pass....the very strongest likelihood is that it will not and Congress will act. It's called cram down...and they've done it before...they'll do it again too. 



Date: 11/22/22 07:02
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: IC1038west

I still don't understand why the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe HR folks didn't try to iron something out in house before this came to vote. Are they that clueless that all the verbs on the railroad (engineers, conductors, brakeman) want to do is have an opportunity to take care of themselves? An industry punishing it's workers for wanting to take care of themselves? You can't run your trains on schedule, therefore you're going to punish and blame the workers? Fixed days off...that way your people assets get a chance for going to the doctor and putting themselves in a safer stronger position to serve the carrier needs. Nobody learned anything west of Chicago. Scheduled days off would have saved a lot of money for both parties.



Date: 11/22/22 07:09
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: engineerinvirginia

IC1038west Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I still don't understand why the Union Pacific and
> Burlington Northern Santa Fe HR folks didn't try
> to iron something out in house before this came to
> vote. Are they that clueless that all the verbs
> on the railroad (engineers, conductors, brakeman)
> want to do is have an opportunity to take care of
> themselves? An industry punishing it's workers
> for wanting to take care of themselves? You can't
> run your trains on schedule, therefore you're
> going to punish and blame the workers? Fixed days
> off...that way your people assets get a chance for
> going to the doctor and putting themselves in a
> safer stronger position to serve the carrier
> needs. Nobody learned anything west of Chicago.
> Scheduled days off would have saved a lot of money
> for both parties.

If any carrier was willing to settle in house they would have proffered something....it happens occasionally but did not this time around. The fact is, as much as we the unions worked together on items of mutual interest...the carriers were all together in their little clique. That's actually the customary way to go....in house settlements are unique and rare....not to say there aren't a plethora of single road and local agreements pertaining to many things.



Date: 11/22/22 08:36
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: railcity

I am going on my Amtrak on  42&43 Trip from Latrobe to Philly then Limo to atlantic city, nj. What should  do about my trip??  Going Dec 7 to 12 will congress do something??



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/22 11:57 by railcity.



Date: 11/22/22 09:01
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: ShortlinesUSA

railcity Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am going on my Amtrakon  42&43 Trip from
> Latrobe to Philly then Limo to atlantic city, nj.
> What should  do about my trip??  Going Dec 7 to
> 12 will congress do something??

Not a person in the world has a definitive answer to these questions right now.  I'm sure Amtrak will take good care of you if your travel plans are disrupted.



Date: 11/22/22 09:08
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: RetiredHogger

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> While a stike would be legal at this point and we
> stand ready should it come to pass....the very
> strongest likelihood is that it will not and
> Congress will act. It's called cram down...and
> they've done it before...they'll do it again
> too. 

All the drama makes good theater for news organizations, but......In 41 years, I only saw one national strike (1982) last longer than one day.

Now, the carriers locked us out for a few days once (early '90s IIRC), but they shot themselves in the foot doing it.



Date: 11/22/22 10:34
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: CPMorris

railcity Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am going on my Amtrakon  42&43 Trip from
> Latrobe to Philly then Limo to atlantic city, nj.
> What should  do about my trip??  Going Dec 7 to
> 12 will congress do something??
RAILCITY, why do you always "Limo to Atlantic City"
instead of riding NJ Transit trains?  Just curious. 



Date: 11/22/22 11:28
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: engineerinvirginia

railcity Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am going on my Amtrakon  42&43 Trip from
> Latrobe to Philly then Limo to atlantic city, nj.
> What should  do about my trip??  Going Dec 7 to
> 12 will congress do something??

As I alluded they say hey are cocked and ready to fire a cram down.



Date: 11/22/22 11:46
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: junctiontower

Well, one thing is clear to me. I thought this was going to be an opportunity for ALL union railroaders to stand united, vote down the contracts by huge margins and send the message to everyone that they were dead serious about major substanitive changes in the model, but I guess not.  By the number of unions that ratified or only narrowly rejected the contract, I am forced to conclude that ya'll aren't really THAT serious about real change, so I'm just going to stop listening to your complaints until an overwhelming majority get on the same page.



Date: 11/22/22 11:50
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: Typhoon

junctiontower Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well, one thing is clear to me. I thought this was
> going to be an opportunity for ALL union
> railroaders to stand united, vote down the
> contracts by huge margins and send the message to
> everyone that they were dead serious about major
> substanitive changes in the model, but I guess
> not.  By the number of unions that ratified or
> only narrowly rejected the contract, I am forced
> to conclude that ya'll aren't really THAT serious
> about real change, so I'm just going to stop
> listening to your complaints until an overwhelming
> majority get on the same page.

Different unions wanted different things.  Many people have a defeated attitude, thinking that they will not get any better in a strike, and it may get worse.   While I don't agree with that line of thinking, I can understand it.  There is a lot more going on here, and if you don't want to listen to our complaints, oh well.  I doubt we will stop complaining.



Date: 11/22/22 11:52
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: engineerinvirginia

junctiontower Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well, one thing is clear to me. I thought this was
> going to be an opportunity for ALL union
> railroaders to stand united, vote down the
> contracts by huge margins and send the message to
> everyone that they were dead serious about major
> substanitive changes in the model, but I guess
> not.  By the number of unions that ratified or
> only narrowly rejected the contract, I am forced
> to conclude that ya'll aren't really THAT serious
> about real change, so I'm just going to stop
> listening to your complaints until an overwhelming
> majority get on the same page.

Well It's a fact that some roads already have what the TA offers so there was only one thing to go for and that was the money...we need that and nobody wanted to give that up....and besides...everybody and I mean everybody votes their pocketbook...it's just a matter of how they see it getting filled up that makes an up or down vote. We all know we can't make money with off time we just want the flexibility to be off when we NEED to be off. That's not going to be easy when we are vastly understaffed, but it's this condition that has brought the problem to the surface. The carriers won't budge now but continuous pressure will yield something eventually...it will be a lot easier when we have enough to people to fill out the extra boards...if there are any to fill out. 



Date: 11/22/22 12:05
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: railcity

CPMorris Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> railcity Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I am going on my Amtrakon  42&43 Trip from
> > Latrobe to Philly then Limo to atlantic city,
> nj.
> > What should  do about my trip??  Going Dec 7
> to
> > 12 will congress do something??
> RAILCITY, why do you always "Limo to Atlantic
> City"
> instead of riding NJ Transit trains?  Just
> curious. 

Yes, before NJ change the times now its 2:49 instead of 3:17 p.m.. time, then wait in Philly until 6:25 p.m. then people told NJ Trainsit had short of crews and dirty trains that few people told me.  so past 1 year i been taking a limo to Atlantic City, NJ.



Date: 11/22/22 12:07
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: junctiontower

Well, I just don't see how ANYTHING ever changes unless enough people are willing to at least OFFER to make a sacrifice.  As for different crafts looking for different things, I thought unions were all about solidarity.  As long as people can be content to basically be bought off, conditions will only get worse, not better.  Not my fight, so I suppose I should just shut up, but this one was one time where this decidedly union non-sympathizer was full in support of what many SAID they wanted, so I guess I'm, a little disillusioned.....



Date: 11/22/22 12:18
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: Trainhand

As long as the carriers think the employees are a piece of equipment that can be used, abused, and discarded, their attitudes toward the employees will continue. If the employee dies from the stress of working every day and night 12 hours at a time good. We'll replace him with a new hire that doesn't cost as much in healthcare, vacation, or leave days. Always remember the rr's know you are expendable and try to get rid of you.

Sam



Date: 11/22/22 15:17
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: ironmtn

Trainhand Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As long as the carriers think the employees are a
> piece of equipment that can be used, abused, and
> discarded, their attitudes toward the employees
> will continue. If the employee dies from the
> stress of working every day and night 12 hours at
> a time good. We'll replace him with a new hire
> that doesn't cost as much in healthcare, vacation,
> or leave days. Always remember the rr's know you
> are expendable and try to get rid of you.
>
> Sam

But to the point "junctiontower" made above once again, if people are not willing to stand up against such attitudes, or any other concern that you have, then getting change is always going to be difficult - and get even more challenging in the future.. Like "junctiontower" I'm a non-railroader outsider too, and most of my career was in non-union jobs. My union work was in transportation in another mode, and we had many of the same issues. I know from experience what these issues are like.  I strongly supported labor in these negotiations, including letters to my congressional representatives urging their support of labor's stance, and to take a neutral stance and not intervene against labor's actions, including a strike.

I am very disappointed at BLET and other unions who apparently went for the money - at the expense of other really important issues. I fear that they will realize only too late and in the future what they gave up for the benjamins. But I am most disappointed at the large number of union members who did not even vote. I absolutely cannot fathom that, in this or any world. This was a very important contract negotiation. To not exercise one's vote, hard won by years of work by generations of your union brothers and sisters, is beyond my understanding.

MC



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/22 15:19 by ironmtn.



Date: 11/22/22 15:48
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: callum_out

My guess would be that the 34% who didn't vote were in some way fearful for their jobs.

Out 



Date: 11/22/22 16:07
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: oneblock

Just a short time until section six notices on the next contract!



Date: 11/22/22 16:40
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: engineerinvirginia

Which will drag out until after I am retired!

Posted from iPhone



Date: 11/22/22 17:54
Re: Potential RR strike looms for December 9
Author: amtrakbill

RailCity - If you don't like dirty trains why are you going to Atlantic City in Dirty Jersey?  I guess you're a high roller so that limo isn't costing you anything!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/22 17:57 by amtrakbill.



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