The BMWED/SMART-Mechanical Division bargaining coalition late final month petitioned the Nationwide Mediation Board (NMB) for a proffer of arbitration, requesting to be launched from additional mediation periods with the Nationwide Carriers Convention Committee (NCCC); the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition unions help the transfer.
The bargaining coalition—comprising the Brotherhood of Upkeep of Approach Employes Division of the Teamsters Rail Convention (BMWED) and the Mechanical Division of SMART (Worldwide Affiliation of Sheet Metallic, Air, Rail and Transportation Employees Union), which signify some 25,000 staff—made their request to the Nationwide Mediation Board by way of letter (obtain under), noting that they have been at deadlock and that additional mediation would unlikely lead to settlement.
The letter, dated Feb. 23, 2022, defined that the unions “made a complete settlement proposal to the NCCC [—which represents all U.S. Class I railroads and many smaller freight and passenger lines—] in June of 2021, and the NCCC has by no means responded with a complete proposal of its personal. NCCC has not even made a wage proposal to BMWED and SMART MD; NCCC has refused to even supply a proposal on compensation regardless of surging inflation and the shortage of a pay improve for workers of the carriers for over two years. Nevertheless, the carriers have made proposals for adjustments within the Nationwide Well being and Welfare plan that might represent worker concessions, after concessions on well being and welfare advantages have been made within the three prior rounds of bargaining. The present proposed concessions can be rather more vital than the concessions in prior rounds; and the adjustments sought would considerably diminish any improve in compensation. Moreover, the proposal is unjustifiable as a result of well being and welfare advantages are a small part of service prices; and, opposite to the contentions of the NCCC, the Nationwide Well being and Welfare Plan is just not out of the so-called ‘mainstream’; it’s in keeping with plans of different non-public sector unionized employers. Along with these info, and data recognized to the Board due to its function in mediation between these events, the unions help their competition that the events are at deadlock with a abstract of the state of the events’ negotiations ready by NCCC, and the unions’ response to that abstract, that have been exchanged by the events in December of 2021. … [The summaries] objectively show how far aside the events have been at the moment. The subsequent mediation session on January 28, 2022 produced no motion and provided no foundation for concluding that persevering with mediation would facilitate an settlement.”
“BMWED and SMART MD subsequently respectfully request that the Board decide that its ‘efforts to result in an amicable settlement’ of the present dispute between the 2 unions and the NCCC have been ‘unsuccessful’ inside the that means of Part 5 First of the Railway Labor Act; and that the Board proffer arbitration of the events’ dispute beneath Part 5 First (thereby releasing the events from mediation),” the letter concluded.
As soon as the Nationwide Mediation Board proffers arbitration and both or each events decline arbitration, it begins a 30-day “cooling-off interval” by which the events should chorus from participating within the train of self-help, the BMWED/SMART-Mechanical bargaining coalition defined in a Feb. 25 announcement of its Nationwide Mediation Board petition. The President, the coalition famous, can appoint a Presidential Emergency Board earlier than the 30-day cooling off interval ends to settle the contract dispute.
“Between 2004 and 2020, which is the interval protecting the final three bargaining cycles, earnings for the Class I railroads have elevated by 536%,” BMWED President Freddie N. Simpson stated within the announcement. “Rail productiveness is up 28% since 2004. Revenue per worker has elevated by 736%. The inventory costs through the 16-year time interval for the three publicly traded Class I railroads have elevated 1,046%! In that very same time interval, after adjustment for inflation, wages for railroad workers have elevated solely 14%. This can’t go on any longer. …”
For background on the negotiations course of and evaluation of the unions’ petition, Railway Age went to Contributing Editor Frank N. Wilner, who’s the creator of “Understanding the Railway Labor Act” and different books, and a former director of public relations for SMART-TD and its predecessor United Transportation Union.
“Beneath the Railway Labor Act, BOTH SIDES should settle for the proffer of arbitration and the ensuing arbitration turns into BINDING,” Wilner instructed Railway Age. “Thus, the BMWE and SMART-MD, in asking for the proffer (which is as much as the NMB to grant), should subsequently agree in addition to acquire the settlement of the NCCC (carriers) ought to the NMB make the proffer. Had been the matter to go to binding arbitration, it will set up a sample for wages, advantages and work guidelines that may very well be imposed on the bigger coalition ought to their negotiations with carriers wind up in binding arbitration or earlier than a Presidential Emergency Board [PEB].
“That is extra doubtless a technique to pressure creation of a Presidential Emergency Board that would very properly lead to a nationwide work stoppage someday this summer time upfront of elections. It is because if the perimeters don’t settle for PEB suggestions, both facet is then free to lockout or strike—a end result Congress dreads because it forces lawmakers to take sides previous to Election Day. Historical past data that inside days of each nationwide railroad work stoppage, Congress acts to finish the work stoppage and impose a third-party settlement. Because the NMB has by no means teed up a nationwide railroad work stoppage in an election 12 months, it’s uncertain the NMB will supply the proffer.
“This technique additionally may very well be in response to member agitation for an amended settlement and better wages as worth inflation rages. Labor leaders know there may be scant likelihood the NMB will launch the events and danger a nationwide rail work stoppage in an election 12 months additional fraught with a danger of worldwide warfare the place railroads play an important function. Labor leaders could also be rolling the cube that the NMB—because it at all times has accomplished—will reject the request in order to maintain the events on the bargaining desk the rest of the 12 months. Thus, labor leaders can lay the blame for no wage will increase this 12 months on the NMB.”
The Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) Unions in a Feb. 28 assertion stated it supported the MBWED/SMART-Mechanical bargaining coalition’s petition and agreed “that the events are at deadlock and must be allowed to maneuver the contract dispute to the subsequent steps of the Railway Labor Act’s negotiation course of. Though the CBC Unions are additionally in mediation with their subsequent NMB-mediated bargaining session scheduled in March, the CBC made it clear to the NMB upon getting into mediation that there’s little if any hope of reaching a voluntary settlement in mild of the rail carriers’ refusal to cut price in good religion with any of the Rail Unions. Due to this fact, the CBC absolutely expects to be making the identical request for a launch, and as soon as all Rail Unions are launched from mediation, the CBC will stand alongside the BMWED/SMART Mechanical Coalition by means of the ultimate steps of the Railway Labor Act negotiation course of to convey the bargaining spherical to a profitable conclusion.”
The CBC unions embody the American Prepare Dispatchers Affiliation (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen/Teamsters Rail Convention (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the Worldwide Affiliation of Machinists (IAM); the Worldwide Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the Nationwide Convention of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the Worldwide Brotherhood of Electrical Employees (IBEW); the Transport Employees Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), together with TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the Worldwide Affiliation of Sheet Metallic, Air, Rail, and Transportation Employees (SMART–TD). Collectively, they signify greater than 105,000 railroad staff coated by the varied organizations’ nationwide agreements.