Posts Tagged ‘NMB’

Amtrak, transportation benefit from omnibus spending bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress passed and President Trump signed into law Friday a bipartisan spending agreement also known as the “omnibus” spending bill that provides a massive boost toward several of our union’s priorities, including transportation infrastructure projects, the Railroad Retirement Board and the National Mediation Board.

With the growing demand by our nation’s leaders to address infrastructure needs, the omnibus provides a major boost to funding passenger rail and transit projects such as $1.9 billion for Amtrak, including $650 million for projects in the Northeast Corridor.

This will provide much-needed funding for the Gateway Project that will double passenger train service between New York and New Jersey to reduce congestion while making repairs to tunnels and tracks that are long overdue. For our bus and transit members, the bill provides $2.6 billion to fund major transit capital investments, including heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars and bus rapid transit projects nationwide.

In addition, the Railroad Retirement Board received a $10 million boost that will allow the agency to phase out its decades-old hardware systems with modernized Information Technology services to provide and disburse benefits to our railroad retirees in a timely manner. Lastly, the omnibus provides the National Mediation Board with $13.8 million that includes the sustained $570,000 funding increase to address the arbitration backlog.

“The SMART TD National Legislative Office continues to inform lawmakers about the importance of funding transit and passenger rail that are vital to our union membership and the nation’s transportation workforce at large. We will continue working to ensure that Congress addresses the full needs of our rail workers by increasing resources for the National Mediation Board and Railroad Retirement Board so that our members receive the services they earned and deserve,” SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch said.

SMART TD members ratify National Rail Agreement

By a margin of nearly four to one, SMART Transportation Division members have voted to APPROVE the new National Rail Contract. The voting was conducted by BallotPoint Election Services, who certified the following results for each craft eligible to vote:

CRAFT ACCEPT REJECT
Conductors 79.89% 20.11%
Brakemen 78.98% 21.02%
Engine Service 76.58% 23.42%
Yardmen 79.97% 20.03%
Yardmaster 86.68% 13.32%
Combined 79.57% 20.43%

The approved contract will have an effective date of December 1, 2017, with implementation of new pay rates and employee healthcare cost-sharing modifications planned for January 1, 2018. Employees’ monthly healthcare contributions will remain frozen at $228.89 for the life of the contract.

The term of the agreement is for five years, from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2019. In addition to a 3% increase previously negotiated and already implemented on January 1, 2015, the contract provides for full retroactive pay of 2% from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, and 4% from July 1, 2017, until implementation of the new rates. Thereafter, affected members will receive a boost in wage rates of 2.5% on July 1, 2018, and 3% on July 1, 2019.

The ratified contract will cover over 35,000 SMART TD members employed by BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Kansas City Southern, Union Pacific and numerous smaller carriers, all of whom were represented in this round of bargaining by the rail industry’s National Carriers’ Conference Committee.

The SMART TD negotiating team was led by President John Previsich, who was assisted in the negotiations by Vice Presidents David Wier, John Lesniewski, Troy Johnson, John England, Doyle Turner and Jeremy Ferguson, along with General Chairpersons Danny Young (BNSF), Mark Cook (NS), Brent Leonard (UP) and Steve Mavity (CSX), all four of whom are nationally elected TD officers in addition to serving as General Chairpersons.

For this round of bargaining, SMART TD joined forces with five other unions to form the Coordinated Bargaining Group. The other unions in the CBG are the American Train Dispatchers Association; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (a Division of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers and the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers/SEIU.

President Previsich commented: “I believe that our negotiating team, along with the teams from the other unions in the CBG, are to be commended for staying the course during a long and tedious round of negotiations. The easy thing for them to do when the going got tough was to declare defeat and walk away from the negotiating table, as others have done, but our team never wavered. By rejecting the carriers’ unreasonable demands while staying at the table and continuing to negotiate, the team was successful in obtaining an agreement that achieved an approval rate of 79.57%.”

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The SMART Transportation Division, formerly the United Transportation Union, is the largest rail union in the United States representing members in all operating crafts, including engineers, conductors, trainmen, switchmen and yardmasters.

Follow this link to view this release in PDF form.

NMB certifies SMART to represent CMQR train and engine service employees

Central Maine and Quebec railwayIn a letter dated Dec. 5, the National Mediation Board (NMB) certified the SMART Transportation Division as the official union of the train and engine service employees of the Central Maine & Quebec Railway (CMQR).

SMART TD invoked the services of the NMB Aug. 12, 2015, to investigate and determine who may represent the train and engine service employees of CMQR. These employees were previously unrepresented by a union.

NMB Investigator Cristina Bonaca held an election and out of the total 11 eligible employees, 10 voted for SMART TD representation, while one employee opted not to vote. Due to these results, Bonaca certified that SMART is the designated labor union and is authorized to represent CMQR train and engine service employees.

“Every department on this railroad that voted for representation: the carmen, maintenance of way, machinists, conductors and engineers bravely stood together and have chosen SMART TD as their representative. They believe that there is strength in numbers,” said SMART TD Organizer Larry Grutzius. “I was glad to be a part of their effort and to see how strongly these new members feel about taking the steps to gain fair compensation for their labor.”

“I’d like to thank Larry Grutzius for all the time and effort he put into winning this campaign,” Director of Organizing Rich Ross said. “We are looking forward to working with our brothers and sister on CMQR to help improve working conditions and their quality of life on the railroad.”

NMB certifies SMART to represent CMQR

Central Maine and Quebec railwayIn a letter dated Dec. 5, the National Mediation Board (NMB) certified the SMART Transportation Division as the official union of the train and engine service employees of the Central Maine & Quebec Railway (CMQR).

SMART TD invoked the services of the NMB Aug. 12, 2015, to investigate and determine who may represent the train and engine service employees of CMQR. These employees were previously unrepresented by a union.

NMB Investigator Cristina Bonaca held an election and out of the total 11 eligible employees, 10 voted for SMART TD representation, while one employee opted not to vote. Due to these results, Bonaca certified that SMART is the designated labor union and is authorized to represent CMQR train and engine service employees.

“Every department on this railroad that voted for representation: the carmen, maintenance of way, machinists, conductors and engineers bravely stood together and have chosen SMART TD as their representative. They believe that there is strength in numbers,” said SMART TD Organizer Larry Grutzius. “I was glad to be a part of their effort and to see how strongly these new members feel about taking the steps to gain fair compensation for their labor.”

“I’d like to thank Larry Grutzius for all the time and effort he put into winning this campaign,” Director of Organizing Rich Ross said. “We are looking forward to working with our brothers and sister on CMQR to help improve working conditions and their quality of life on the railroad.”

Nicholas Geale named new chairman of NMB

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Geale

Washington, D.C. – The National Mediation Board (NMB) is pleased to announce that Nicholas Geale became chairman of the National Mediation Board, effective July 1, 2015.  Harry Hoglander and Linda Puchala remain as members of the Board.  Geale was nominated by President Barack Obama on July 30, 2013 and confirmed by the United States Senate on August 1, 2013.  

Prior to his appointment Geale was the Director of Oversight and Investigations for Ranking Member Lamar Alexander on the U. S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. His primary responsibilities included investigating waste, fraud and abuse in government programs, and he worked with agency Inspectors General and the Government Accountability Office in that capacity.  He also evaluated and advised the committee on Presidential nominees and assisted the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions policy teams in evaluating government programs.

Before becoming Director of Oversight, Geale served as Oversight and Investigations Counsel on the Committee for ranking member Michael B. Enzi. Prior to joining the HELP Committee, he was first an attorney/advisor to the solicitor and then the counselor to the deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor under the leadership of Secretary Elaine L. Chao.  In both those roles, Geale assisted the department in implementing policies regarding over 180 laws under its jurisdiction and managing the Department’s 15,000 employees.

Prior to federal service, Geale had six years of experience in labor and employment matters, general commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution in private and public practice, including serving as assistant general counsel for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.  He graduated from Georgetown Law in 1999 and Claremont McKenna College in 1996.

The National Mediation Board is an independent federal agency established by the Railway Labor Act, which governs labor-management relations within two key transportation sectors of the United States and U.S. territories:  railroads and airlines.

Florida East Coast Railroaders reach agreement

FEC LogoCSX Transportation General Committee of Adjustment GO 851 has reached two new collective bargaining agreements with Florida East Coast Railway (FECR). One agreement covering conductors, engineers, and trainmen; a second covering yardmasters. Both five-year agreements were signed June 18, 2015, and are retroactive to 2013. Local 903 of Jacksonville, Fla., and Local 1138 of Miami are affected by the agreements.

The agreements were a long-time coming with the bargaining process having begun 2.5 years ago. The National Mediation Board (NMB) was invoked and NMB Mediator Victoria Gray stepped in to guide the mediation.

Both agreements protect work rules, wages, and healthcare for both train and engine members and yardmasters. The agreements include retroactive pay to 2013 with wage increases totaling 13 percent each.

“This was a team effort involving former Vice President Robert Kerley, Vice President John Lesniewski, Vice General Chairperson Joe Bennett, FECR Assistant General Chairperson Jim Bush (Local 903), Local Chairperson Jim McCorkle (Local 1138) and Local Chairperson Eddie Guillen (Local 1138),” GO 851 General Chairperson John Whitaker said.

FECR operates between Jacksonville, Fla., and Miami. GO 851 represents approximately 200 employees on the property.

Three new mediators join the NMB

NMB logo; National Mediation BoardWashington, D.C. – The National Mediation Board (NMB) is pleased to announce that in June 2015 three new mediators have joined the NMB:

Jane Allen joins the NMB with 22 years of experience in the airline industry. She also practiced law for five years. Ms. Allen worked for five years in a senior executive capacity at a large legacy carrier. She had overall responsibility for cabin crew operations as the Senior Vice President Onboard Service. Subsequently, Ms. Allen directed the company’s human resource and labor activities as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources. As a member of the company’s executive committee, she provided advice and counsel on strategic human resource and labor matters to the senior executive team and the Board of Directors.

Ms. Allen also held a variety of positions over 17 years at another large legacy air carrier. As the Vice President of Employee Relations and Chief Labor Negotiator, she directed all collective bargaining, and was responsible for contract interpretation, labor relations, and mediation. In this position she gained broad experience under numerous Railway Labor Act provisions, and in Alternative Dispute Resolution. Ms. Allen also served as the carrier’s Vice President of Flight Service and the Managing Director of Compensation and Benefits for all employees.

Ms. Allen holds a JD from Vanderbilt University’s School of Law and a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University.

Eva Durham joins the NMB with 40 years of airline labor relations experience at regional, legacy and ULLC carriers. She began her career as a flight attendant with Ozark Airlines, where she was elected to the AFA MEC. At TWA, Ms. Durham served as a labor advocate on cross divisional labor teams and later worked with multiple labor groups as manager in the TWA human resource – labor relations organization. Her labor experience in the regional airline industry includes serving as Vice President Inflight at Atlantic Southeast Airlines, and leading the Inflight department at Compass Airline. Ms. Durham gained ULLC experience at Frontier and Spirit Airlines, where she served as Senior Director Inflight. Her tenure in the airline industry includes labor relations, contract negotiations, and leading change during airline bankruptcy, strike, mergers, spin offs, and transitions.

Ms. Durham holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Her MBA was earned at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia. She has completed mediation training at Harvard Law School and worked as a Georgia civil and domestic relations mediator.

Catherine McCann joins the NMB with considerable experience in labor relations. Prior to joining the NMB, Ms. McCann worked in the commercial aviation industry for 18 years in various Human Resources and Labor Relations capacities. She served as the Vice President of Employee Relations and the Vice President of People for American Eagle Airlines. She had responsibility for all Human Resources and Labor Relations functions and negotiated multiple labor agreements with each of American Eagle’s unions, including six restructuring agreements during bankruptcy.

During her tenure at American Eagle, Ms. McCann gained extensive experience in the utilization of interest based bargaining and alternative dispute resolution techniques. She managed labor relations, contract administration, grievance resolution and arbitration issues.

Ms. McCann also has labor relations experience with unions in Canada and the Bahamas.

Ms. McCann holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Texas.

NMB releases unions on NJ Transit, PEB next

NMB logo; National Mediation BoardThe National Mediation Board yesterday released from further mediation every commuter union on New Jersey Transit (NJT).           

The unions, working together in the New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition, immediately announced their intention to invoke a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), which will make non-binding recommendations to settle the four year old contract dispute. 

The Coalition includes every rail union on NJT, representing more than 4,000 commuter workers. 

Coalition spokesmen said, “By announcing our intention to invoke a PEB, we want to remove any fears the riding public may have that a strike could occur in July. Our goal is to reach a voluntary agreement. We are optimistic that a neutral PEB will find reasonable our proposals to follow the pattern settlements reached on New York commuter railroads. There is simply no justification for the workers we represent to fall further behind their counterparts on Long Island and Metro-North railroads.” 

Negotiations for new contracts opened on July 1, 2011. NMB efforts at mediation failed to produce agreements, prompting today’s releases. Under the governing Railway Labor Act, a strike would be possible at 12:01 AM, July 16, 2015, unless one of the involved Governors, the commuter agency or unions request the President to appoint an Emergency Board. Once appointed, the PEB will have thirty days to hold hearings and issue non-binding recommendations to settle the dispute. Creation of the PEB will start a 120 day cooling off period during which neither side can resort to self-help.

SMART joins NJT Rail Labor Coalition

PrintSMART Transportation Division’s General Committee of Adjustment  GO 610 representing conductors and trainmen, General Committee of Adjustment GO 340 representing yardmasters and SMART Sheet Metal Mechanical and Engineering Local 396 representing mechanical workers have joined the New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition in asking the National Mediation Board (NMB) to proffer arbitration to its members after reaching an impasse in contract negotiations with New Jersey Transit (NJT).

The 10 unions in the NJTRLC have requested that NMB release them from further mediation.

In the requests to the NMB, the coalition wrote, “… the Coalition’s proposal is consistent with all other commuter railroad settlements this round. The company’s proposal … calls for employee health insurance contributions well above the level at every other commuter railroad, while offering wage adjustments far below those achieved at every other commuter railroad during this round … It is clear an impasse exists.”

On March 23, the NMB forwarded the coalition’s release request to NJT and sought a response by April 6.

If the NMB agrees to release the coalition unions, it will proffer binding arbitration to the unions and NJT. When either side notifies the NMB that it rejects binding arbitration, that will begin a process that could take as long as 270 days if no voluntary agreement is reached, including two Presidential Emergency Boards. The first PEB would be appointed within 30 days of either side’s rejection of the proffer of arbitration. At the end of the 270 days, both sides may resort to self-help.

The coalition elected to seek release after it became clear that NJT would not make a reasonable offer. The coalition has proposed a settlement patterned after the contracts achieved this round on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad. NJT insists on concessionary contracts, with employees with families paying more than four times what they currently pay for health benefits.

The coalitions’ goal is to achieve a fair, voluntary agreement. It believes it has a strong case to present to a PEB. In most commuter railroad labor disputes in the past, the PEB’s recommendations led to a voluntary agreement. However, unlike arbitration, a PEB’s recommendations are not binding.

The coalition formed over the last several months after three years of each union bargaining unsuccessfully with NJT. The member unions believe working together maximizes their potential power. The coalition unions represent 88 percent of NJT unionized workers.

SMART rejects arbitration offer on LIRR

Simon, Anthony.web

Simon

The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Oct. 21 rejected a proffer of arbitration from the National Mediation Board to SMART Transportation Division’s General Committee of Adjustment GO 505, which represents a variety of crafts on the Long Island Rail Road in New York.

“After three years of difficult negotiations, the two sides are far apart on the major issues of wages, health and welfare and pension contributions,” said GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon. “This release is a major step in getting us on the right path to obtaining a fair deal.”

Simon thanked Transportation Division President John Previsich for his continued assistance throughout the negotiations and SMART General President Joe Nigro for his ongoing support.

“Our organization has been working closely with SMART Sheet Metal Division General Chairperson John McCloskey and the leadership of the Transportation Communications Union and the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers in obtaining a positive outcome for LIRR workers,” Simon said. “Together in solidarity, our organization will continue to work at obtaining a fair contract for our members. I ask for the continued support of our membership as we go through these very challenging times.”

GO 505 represents conductors, car inspectors, car repairmen, car appearance maintainers, track workers, track supervisors and special service attendants employed by LIRR.

NMB director of mediation and ADR to retire

NMB logo; National Mediation BoardWASHINGTON – The National Mediation Board (NMB) announced June 25 that Larry Gibbons, director of NMB mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution services, will retire in September.

Gibbons has overall responsibility for managing the agency’s mediation program. He is credited for improving staff training and development and the effectiveness of the NMB mediation and ADR programs.

The NMB reports that during Gibbons’ 16 years, the mediation department has guided the parties to resolution of their collective-bargaining disputes in more than 99 percent of the hundreds of cases that have come before the board, including cases on all the major U.S. airlines and national handling of Class I railroads. During his watch, there have been only two work stoppages among the major airlines and none in the railroad industry. Gibbons joined the agency in 1997 as a senior mediator and became director of mediation services in 2003. He became director of the Office of Mediation and ADR services in 2011.

“This decision was not easy, nor was it made in haste,” Gibbons said. “After working full time for the past 45 years, the last 16 at the NMB, it is time to slow down a bit and enjoy life, while I’m still healthy and able to do so.”

Gibbons joined the agency in 1997 as a senior mediator and became director of mediation services in 2003. He became director of the Office of Mediation and ADR services in 2011.

Gibbons brought to the board 25 years of experience in personnel and labor relations under the Railway Labor Act and the National Labor Relations Act. Immediately prior to joining the NMB, he headed human resources and labor relations with ABX Air, Inc., for 12 years and for two years was an independent labor relations consultant. He is a past president and member of the AIRCON Executive Board.

The National Mediation Board is an independent federal agency established by the Railway Labor Act, which governs labor-management relations within two key transportation sectors of the United States and U.S. territories: the railroads and airlines.

Under the Railway Labor Act, the National Mediation Board is assigned the task of assisting carrier and union officials in reaching voluntary agreement on wages, benefits and working conditions after the parties themselves have reached an impasse.

Obama re-nominates three at NMB

NMB logo; National Mediation BoardWASHINGTON — President Barack Obama last week re-nominated three individuals to serve on the National Mediation Board, which administers the Railway Labor Act affecting railroads and airlines.

Nominees Harry Hoglander and Linda Puchala are current members of the board. The third nominee is Nicholas C. Geale, a Republican staff member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Hoglander, an attorney and NMB member since 2002, previously was a senior staff member for former House member John Tierney (D-Mass), an executive vice president of the Air Line Pilots Association, an airline captain flying for TWA, and a U.S. Air Force pilot.

Puchala, an NMB member since 2009, previously was an NMB mediator and International President of the Association of Flight Attendants.

Prior to his work with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Geale was an attorney in the Labor Department.

Democrats Hoglander and Puchala hold expired seats on the board and await Senate reconfirmation. The law permits NMB members to continue serving, following expiration of their term, until a successor is confirmed or they are reconfirmed.

President Obama previously nominated Geale on Dec. 17, 2012. Because the Senate failed to act on his nomination prior to Dec. 31, the president had to make new nominations when the new Congress was seated in 2013.

If confirmed Geale will succeed Republican Elizabeth Dougherty, who resigned in July 2012 following expiration of her second term. Obama nominated Republican Thomas Beck to succeed Dougherty, but after the Senate failed to hold a confirmation hearing on his nomination, he withdrew his name.

Typically, Republican and Democratic nominees are paired for confirmation.