NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — The team negotiating the next National Rail Contract which will affect more than 40,000 SMART Transportation Division members has been finalized by the union’s leadership.
The team will be led by TD President Jeremy Ferguson with the assistance of Vice Presidents Brent Leonard; John J. Whitaker III; Chadrick Adams; Jamie C. Modesitt; Joe M. Lopez and David B. Wier Jr.
Also part of the team are five General Chairpersons, Mike LaPresta (BNSF); Gary Crest (Union Pacific); Roger Crawford (Illinois Central); Thomas Gholson (Norfolk Southern) and Christopher Bartz (yardmasters).
“We are prepared to do whatever it takes to get the most out of this round of national contract talks,” President Ferguson said. “It will be a challenging process and it could be quite contentious at times. However, we on the negotiating team are confident that as we work through the process we can achieve a positive result.”
The opening meeting of negotiations is scheduled for February 26 and 27 in Washington, D.C., with talks occurring in Cleveland, Omaha, Washington, D.C. and Chicago, as the year progresses.
SMART-TD is part of a Coordinated Bargaining Coalition that consists of it and nine other unions representing rail labor. Carriers BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Canadian National, Norfolk Southern, Soo Line, Union Pacific and numerous smaller railroads are represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) during negotiations.
In related news, CSXT will not be part of national bargaining, except for health and welfare issues. For the wages and rules portion, SMART-TD and CSX have agreed to begin bargaining locally on behalf of trainmen starting Jan. 21, 2020.
A joint meeting for the negotiating parties regarding facilitated bargaining is scheduled in Jacksonville, Fla., on January 22 and 23.
Additional meeting dates for these negotiations are currently under discussion, and a tentative schedule will be set in the near future. Neither the SMART-TD nor CSX have exchanged any proposals, and an agenda for the subjects to be discussed during these contract talks, which are separate from the National Rail Contract negotiations, has yet to be finalized.
CP’s purchase from Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC now gives the carrier trackage and facilities from St. Jean, Quebec, Canada, to Searsport, Maine, and is expected to close by the end of the year.
SMART Transportation Division represents 52 members on the CM&Q in the Transportation, Mechanical and Engineering Departments who belong to GO-049, which is represented by General Chairman Rick Lee. CM&Q owns 481 miles of rail lines primarily in Quebec and Maine.
Brother Robert “Rob” J. Hemling, 39, of Randolph, Wis., and a member of Local 590, died in a train accident March 27 in Sparta, Wis.
Brother Hemling, a conductor for Canadian Pacific, was working at Cedar Creek Lumber when he was killed. Police and media reports did not provide details about the circumstances of the accident.
He began working for the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad before joining Local 590 in 2003.
He is survived by his wife, Megan; his two daughters, Madelynn and Savannah; parents, Randy and Kathy Hemling of Beaver Dam; his siblings, Rachel (Corey) Bradley of Beaver Dam, Andy (Shelly) Hemling of Randolph and Aleshia (Clint) Redeker of Randolph; parents-in-law, Terry and Betty Boomsma of Beaver Dam; a sister-in-law, Tara (Justin) Kienast of Burnett; grandmothers, Evelyn Schumacher of Randolph and Lucy (Gordon) Braaksma of Randolph; a step-grandmother, Deb Stiemsma of Randolph; nieces and nephews, Cole, Brandi, Hunter, Emma, Griffin, Paisley, Aidan, Kate, Alayna, Taylor, Brody, Kaiden and Sam; aunts, uncles, other relatives and friends.
Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 2, 2018, and on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, from 10 a.m. until an 11 a.m. funeral service at First Reformed Church, 406 S. High St., Randolph, with Pastor Linda Heisler officiating. Burial will follow in Randolph Cemetery.
Net Earnings: $455 million or $0.48 per share; down from $507 million or $0.52 per share Revenue: Declined 8 percent Operating Income: Declined 10 percent to $841 million Operating Ratio: Increased 70 basis points to 69.0 percent Click here to read CSX’s full earnings report
Net Earnings: C$347 million (7 percent increase) or C$2.34 diluted earnings per share (a 15 percent increase); up from C$323 million or C$2.04 diluted earnings per share Revenue: Decrease of 9 percent to C$1.55 billion Operating Income: C$657 million, a decrease of 13 percent Operating Ratio: 57.7 percent, lowest ever reported Click here to read Canadian Pacific’s full earnings report
Net Earnings: $1.1 billion or $1.36 per diluted share (9 percent decline); down from $1.3 billion or $1.50 per diluted share Revenue: $5.2 billion, down 7 percent Operating Income: Declined 11 percent to $2.0 billion Operating Ratio: 62.1 percent, up 1.8 points Click here to read Union Pacific’s full earnings report
Net Earnings: C$972 million or C$1.25 per diluted share, as compared to 2015 3rd quarter of C$1,007 million or C$1.26 per diluted share Revenue: Decreased 6 percent to C$3,014 million Operating Income: Declined 5 percent to C$1,407 million Operating Ratio: A record 53.3 percent, a 0.5-point improvement Click here to read Canadian National’s full earnings report
Net Earnings: $460 million (2 percent increase) or $1.55 diluted earnings per share (4 percent increase); up from $452 million or $1.49 diluted earnings per share Revenue: Declined 7 percent to $2.5 billion Operating Income: Stayed at a steady $820 million Operating Ratio: 67.5 percent, a 220 basis point improvement over 2015’s reported 69.7 percent in the third quarter Click here to read Norfolk Southern’s full earnings report
Note: Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.
According to Progressive Railroading, Canadian Pacific (CP) has been fined $1.2 million by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for operating 100 wireless radio facilities in the U.S. without FCC approval.
Fox 9 reports that a fatality that occurred last week during a crew change on Canadian Pacific may have been preventable.
In an interview with the news channel, Minnesota State Legislative Director Phil Qualy said that CP could have taken action to move the crew changes to a safer area, but took no action.
Qualy told SMART TD that he had submitted numerous letters to CP about the safety of having a crew change in the specific location where the engineer-trainee Jeffrey Harsh was killed but no action had been taken.
In a similar trajedy, CP railway worker Jamie Jijian died in 2013 as a result of a “combination of hazardous conditions acting together.” His death is also believed to have been preventable.
Rail workers are still performing crew changes in the area where Harsh lost his life last week.
“As a representative of the FRA’s Switching Operations Fatality Analysis (SOFA) working group, I would like to point to section 3.7 of SOFA’s 2011 report “Findings and Advisories of the SOFA Working Group Volume I: SOFA Report with Appendix A,” that warns of the dangers of crossing active rails, to all carriers, interested parties and members.”
Harsh’s case is still under investigation by the FRA.
The CBC News reported that Transport Canada recently ordered Canadian Pacific Railway to change its fatigue-management practices and freight train line-ups in British Columbia since they pose “an immediate threat to safe railway operations.”