Posts Tagged ‘PEB 245’

SMART announces June 21 rally in LIRR dispute

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The International Association of Sheet, Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers and its allied unions on the Long Island Rail Road invite members of organized labor and their family, friends and supporters to a “LIRR Labor Rally” on Saturday, June 21, at 11 a.m. at the Massapequa Train Station.

SMART Transportation Division GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon said the purpose of the rally is to demonstrate the resolve of affected LIRR employees in achieving the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board 245.

In a ruling delivered May 20, PEB 245 found decisively in favor of the unions in their ongoing dispute with New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority over wages, work rules and pension reforms.

In its report, the board notes that “the lack of notice and bargaining on substantial issues in the Carrier’s final offer is of significant concern … The Unions’ final offer, on the other hand, represents a reasonable balance addressing the priorities of both parties … It is noteworthy that the Unions’ assertion that real wage increases for LIRR employees, absent inflation, have not increased at all since 1991, was not challenged by the Carrier.”

The PEB report set in motion a final 60-day cooling off period. If no agreement is reached during that time, SMART and the other unions are legally allowed to strike July 19 under provisions of the Railway Labor Act.

However, Simon told New York’s Newsday May 27 that SMART would be willing to extend by 60 days, or until mid-September, any strike on the railroad.

“Our members care about Long Island and its economy,” said Simon, adding that a strike could harm summer tourism-based businesses. “All we would need is the MTA to mutually agree on the extension.”

SMART’s coalition partners include the Transportation Communications Union, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers-Service Employees International Union.

To print a rally flyer, click here.

Show your support here: http://www.keeplongislandmoving.net

See also: LIRR workers urge management, Cuomo to help delay strike deadline

PEB 245: 'LIRR unions' offer most reasonable'

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Presidential Emergency Board 245 determined May 20 that “the Unions’ final offer is the most reasonable” in the four-year-old bargaining dispute between the International Association of Sheet, Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers and its allied unions and the Long Island Rail Road.

The PEB report sets in motion a final 60-day cooling off period. If no agreement is reached during that time, SMART and the other unions can strike on July 19 under provisions of the Railway Labor Act.

Under the RLA’s special 9A provisions for disputes involving commuter railroads, if the parties do not reach agreement after a first PEB issues its recommendations, a second PEB is convened to decide which side’s final offer is the most reasonable.

On Dec. 21, 2013, PEB 244 recommended a six-year contract with 17.9 percent in compounded wage increases. The board also recommended that employees begin paying health insurance premiums that reduced the net value of the proposed contract to 2.5 percent per year. The board rejected Long Island Rail Road’s proposal for sweeping pension, work rule, and other concessions.

In its report, the board notes that “the lack of notice and bargaining on substantial issues in the Carrier’s final offer is of significant concern … The Unions’ final offer, on the other hand, represents a reasonable balance addressing the priorities of both parties … It is noteworthy that the Unions’ assertion that real wage increases for LIRR employees, absent inflation, have not increased at all since 1991, was not challenged by the Carrier.”

“A strong union requires strong members,” said SMART General President Joseph Nigro. “The courage and fortitude these members exhibited shows that there is nothing stronger than the solidarity that comes when working families are united. They are proof of that.

“SMART will provide all the resources needed to ensure an agreement worthy of ratification by these members is produced. They have fought for and deserve every advance they make and will make in the future.”

“Our members on LIRR, led by General Chairperson Anthony Simon, are to be commended for their resolve in seeking the fair and equitable agreement to which they are entitled,” said SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich. “From the very beginning, SMART advised all concerned that management’s offer of a substandard contract was unacceptable and that we would not hold back in our efforts to obtain a just agreement.

“Throughout negotiations and mediation, our position was firm and consistent and management refused to listen. Now that our position is validated by both Presidential Emergency Board 244 and again with PEB 245, it is time for this issue to be resolved. We will not rest until our members receive the agreement that they deserve.”

SMART, along with its coalition partners Transportation Communications Union, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers-Service Employees International Union, submitted the recommendations of the first board to PEB 245 as its final offer.

MTA, which conducted the bargaining for Long Island Rail Road, rejected PEB 244’s recommendations as a basis for settlement. Instead, MTA proposed as its final offer what it claimed was equivalent value to a deal it reached on April 17, 2014, four days before PEB 245 hearings began, with Transport Workers Union Local 100 representing 35,000 New York City Transit Authority workers. The offer was for 11 percent in wage increases over six years, with a 2 percent employee contribution to health insurance, major pension concessions, and a new, reduced-rate progression for new employees.

PEB 245 decisively ruled for the unions. The three-member panel, comprised of renowned arbitrators Joshua Javits, David Vaughn and Elizabeth Wesman, wrote, “The Unions’ final offer … represents a reasonable balance addressing the priorities of both parties.”

In rejecting MTA’s final offer, the board found that there were no consistencies with any comparisons made by the MTA, and the lack of detail to any comparables did not prove that their final offer was reasonable. As PEB 244 noted, state employee agreements have virtually never constituted valid comparators or patterns for commuter railroads. The labor markets, skills, history, and operations are completely different.

SMART Transportation Division Alternate Vice President and General Chairperson Anthony Simon, spokesman for the SMART, TCU, IAM and NCFO-SEIU coalition, called upon MTA “to accept reality and sign the PEB-recommended contract immediately.”

“Our members and all the hard working men and women on the Long Island Rail Road have waited long enough. We sincerely hope MTA will not stick to its twice-rejected position. We are fully prepared to strike on July 19 if MTA continues to stonewall the process,” Simon said.

To read the complete report of PEB 245, click here.

PEB 245: ‘LIRR Unions’ Offer Most Reasonable’

Presidential Emergency Board 245 determined May 20 that “the Unions’ final offer is the most reasonable” in the four-year-old bargaining dispute between the International Association of Sheet, Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers and its allied unions and the Long Island Rail Road.

The PEB report sets in motion a final 60-day cooling off period. If no agreement is reached during that time, SMART and the other unions can strike on July 19 under provisions of the Railway Labor Act.

Under the RLA’s special 9A provisions for disputes involving commuter railroads, if the parties do not reach agreement after a first PEB issues its recommendations, a second PEB is convened to decide which side’s final offer is the most reasonable.

On Dec. 21, 2013, PEB 244 recommended a six-year contract with 17.9 percent in compounded wage increases. The board also recommended that employees begin paying health insurance premiums that reduced the net value of the proposed contract to 2.5 percent per year. The board rejected Long Island Rail Road’s proposal for sweeping pension, work rule, and other concessions.

In its report, the board notes that “the lack of notice and bargaining on substantial issues in the Carrier’s final offer is of significant concern … The Unions’ final offer, on the other hand, represents a reasonable balance addressing the priorities of both parties … It is noteworthy that the Unions’ assertion that real wage increases for LIRR employees, absent inflation, have not increased at all since 1991, was not challenged by the Carrier.”

“A strong union requires strong members,” said SMART General President Joseph Nigro. “The courage and fortitude these members exhibited shows that there is nothing stronger than the solidarity that comes when working families are united. They are proof of that.

“SMART will provide all the resources needed to ensure an agreement worthy of ratification by these members is produced. They have fought for and deserve every advance they make and will make in the future.”

“Our members on LIRR, led by General Chairperson Anthony Simon, are to be commended for their resolve in seeking the fair and equitable agreement to which they are entitled,” said SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich. “From the very beginning, SMART advised all concerned that management’s offer of a substandard contract was unacceptable and that we would not hold back in our efforts to obtain a just agreement.

“Throughout negotiations and mediation, our position was firm and consistent and management refused to listen. Now that our position is validated by both Presidential Emergency Board 244 and again with PEB 245, it is time for this issue to be resolved. We will not rest until our members receive the agreement that they deserve.”

SMART, along with its coalition partners Transportation Communications Union, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers-Service Employees International Union, submitted the recommendations of the first board to PEB 245 as its final offer.

MTA, which conducted the bargaining for Long Island Rail Road, rejected PEB 244’s recommendations as a basis for settlement. Instead, MTA proposed as its final offer what it claimed was equivalent value to a deal it reached on April 17, 2014, four days before PEB 245 hearings began, with Transport Workers Union Local 100 representing 35,000 New York City Transit Authority workers. The offer was for 11 percent in wage increases over six years, with a 2 percent employee contribution to health insurance, major pension concessions, and a new, reduced-rate progression for new employees.

PEB 245 decisively ruled for the unions. The three-member panel, comprised of renowned arbitrators Joshua Javits, David Vaughn and Elizabeth Wesman, wrote, “The Unions’ final offer … represents a reasonable balance addressing the priorities of both parties.”

In rejecting MTA’s final offer, the board found that there were no consistencies with any comparisons made by the MTA, and the lack of detail to any comparables did not prove that their final offer was reasonable. As PEB 244 noted, state employee agreements have virtually never constituted valid comparators or patterns for commuter railroads. The labor markets, skills, history, and operations are completely different.

SMART Transportation Division Alternate Vice President and General Chairperson Anthony Simon, spokesman for the SMART, TCU, IAM and NCFO-SEIU coalition, called upon MTA “to accept reality and sign the PEB-recommended contract immediately.”

“Our members and all the hard working men and women on the Long Island Rail Road have waited long enough. We sincerely hope MTA will not stick to its twice-rejected position. We are fully prepared to strike on July 19 if MTA continues to stonewall the process,” Simon said.

To read the complete report of PEB 245, click here.

Second PEB sides with LIRR unions

A White House-appointed mediation panel Tuesday rejected an MTA proposal for a Long Island Rail Road union contract for the second time, calling labor leaders’ offer of a 17 percent, six-year pact a “reasonable” solution.

In its nonbinding recommendation issued last evening, the three-member Presidential Emergency Board 245 called the LIRR unions’ proposal for the contract and, for the first time, employee health benefit contributions “a reasonable balance addressing the priorities of both parties.”

Read the complete story at Newsday.

Proposal for LIRR workers 'unacceptable,' unions say

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Simon

Long Island Rail Road unions left the meeting of Presidential Emergency Board 245 more united than ever in their quest for a fair contract.

The unions submitted a proposed contract that followed the recommendations of the PEB 244, which called for modest net annual increases of 2.5 percent.

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority submitted an offer they claim was patterned after the tentative deal reached last week with TWU Local 100, but in reality, it fell far short, the union coalition reports.

The coalition is comprised of SMART Transportation Division General Committee of Adjustment GO 505, the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers SEIU 32BJ, the Transportation Communications Union and the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers.

“It is truly unfortunate that at this late stage, MTA would submit an offer that they know will guarantee a strike if it is selected,” said SMART General Chairperson Anthony Simon. “Their proposal would reduce real wages and effectively eliminate the pension plan for new hires. It is absolutely unacceptable.”

“The MTA is not telling the truth when it characterizes the unions’ position. We have never said that if we don’t get everything we want, there will be a strike. What we are saying loud and clear is that the MTA’s lowball offer, far below the real value of Transport Workers Union Local 100’s deal, will definitely provoke a strike if it was submitted to our membership for ratification.”

The MTA offer, though purportedly following the contours of Local 100’s agreement, actually omitted most of the value of that deal.

“If the MTA offer to us was submitted to the Local 100 membership, it would go down in flames,” Simon said.

The union coalition presented expert testimony showing that the agency could afford the unions’ proposal without raising fares. In fact, MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast testified that MTA was funding the Local 100 deal out of the same LIRR fund that the unions testified were available to the first board, but which MTA said they couldn’t use. It also tapped a fund for LIRR workers’ pensions.

The MTA proposal to PEB 245 omitted almost all of the benefit gains achieved by Local 100. In their place, MTA offered less than 75 percent of their actual value, according to Local 100 officials. MTA offered no evidence to support its valuations of their proposal.

On pensions, MTA proposed that LIRR workers pay more than 9 percent of their salary, where Local 100 members would pay on average 3.5 percent for a pension payment of substantially less value. New hire salaries would be slashed far beyond the modest changes in the tentative Local 100 deal.

“We are shocked that MTA would come before the PEB with a proposal so far below the fair recommendations of the first Presidential Emergency Board, as well as what they agreed to with Local 100 and the MTA police. Their proposal fails the test of reasonableness, and cannot be the basis of a voluntary settlement,” Simon said.

Obama Announces Second PEB in LIRR Dispute

whitehouselogoWASHINGTON – President Barack Obama, March 20, signed an executive order creating a second Presidential Emergency Board to help resolve an ongoing dispute between the Long Island Rail Road and some of its unionized employees.

The appointment of a second PEB means that a strike by members of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers and other union employees that could have come as early as March 21 will now be put off until July at the earliest.

PEB 245 will provide a structure that allows the two sides to attempt to resolve their disagreements. In the 60 days following its establishment, the PEB will obtain final offers for settlement of the dispute from each side, and then produce a report to the president that selects the offer that the board finds to be the most reasonable.

The board’s report is not binding, but the party whose offer is not selected would be prohibited by law from receiving certain benefits if a work stoppage subsequently occurs. If the two sides fail to reach a compromise based on the recommendations of the second PEB, LIRR workers can legally strike as early as July 19.

“I am obviously disappointed that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority rejected the findings of PEB 244,” said SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich. “While the board’s recommendations did not include everything our members on the LIRR were seeking, I do think they provided an equitable framework for resolving this matter without a work stoppage.”

The first PEB recommended that the LIRR pay wage increases totaling 18.4 percent over six years (2.9 percent per year) and that employees begin contributing to health insurance premium costs. After factoring in the recommended employee health insurance contributions, the board’s recommendations will produce net wage increases of 2.5 percent per year.

The recommendations were retroactive to June 2010.

“The recommendations of the first Presidential Emergency Board ignored the enormous burden that a 17 percent wage increase over six years without a single change in work rules or other cost offset would place on the MTA’s budget,” said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan.

The members of PEB 245 are: Joshua M. Javits, appointee for chairman; Elizabeth C. Wesman, appointee for member; and M. David Vaughn, appointee for member.

“I appreciate that these dedicated individuals have agreed to devote their talent and years of experience working on labor-management disputes to help reach a swift and smooth resolution of this issue,” Obama said.

Javits is a self-employed mediator and arbitrator for labor-management, pension, commercial, contract and a variety of other disputes. He served on PEBs in 2007 and in 2009. From 1993 to 2001, Javits was a Partner at Ford & Harrison L.L.P., where he also served as Executive Director of the Labor Relations Association of Passenger Railroads. He was appointed as chairman and member of the National Mediation Board (NMB) from 1988 to 1993, where he was responsible for administering the Railway Labor Act governing labor relations in the airline and railroad industries. He was a labor-management arbitrator of record in more than 100 cases between 1985 and 1988, serving on numerous arbitration panels, including the AAA, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the NMB.

Wesman has been a full-time labor and employment arbitrator since 2000 and has practiced arbitration/mediation since 1981. She has arbitrated disputes in a wide array of industries, including railroads, aerospace, police and fire departments and public and private universities. She was previously associate professor of Strategy and Human Resources/Industrial Relations at Syracuse University from 1981 to 2000. She was also an adjunct professor at the Rochester, New York, Extension Division of Cornell University from 1990 to 2000.

Vaughn has been a full-time neutral arbitrator and mediator specializing in labor and employment disputes since 1984. He has served on three previous railroad industry PEBs. He has been handling railroad cases since 1984 and has issued hundreds of awards. His current public law board appointments include Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) and United Transportation Union (UTU), CSX and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen – Teamsters (BLET), and BNSF and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes – Teamsters (BMWET). He holds numerous umpireships and panel appointments, including Railway Labor Act panels withUnited Continental and Air Line Pilots Association, USAir and Association of Flight Attendants, and UPSA and Teamsters.

Obama announces second PEB in LIRR dispute

whitehouselogoWASHINGTON – President Barack Obama, March 20, signed an executive order creating a second Presidential Emergency Board to help resolve an ongoing dispute between the Long Island Rail Road and some of its unionized employees.

The appointment of a second PEB means that a strike by members of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers and other union employees that could have come as early as March 21 will now be put off until July at the earliest.

PEB 245 will provide a structure that allows the two sides to attempt to resolve their disagreements. In the 60 days following its establishment, the PEB will obtain final offers for settlement of the dispute from each side, and then produce a report to the president that selects the offer that the board finds to be the most reasonable.

The board’s report is not binding, but the party whose offer is not selected would be prohibited by law from receiving certain benefits if a work stoppage subsequently occurs. If the two sides fail to reach a compromise based on the recommendations of the second PEB, LIRR workers can legally strike as early as July 19.

“I am obviously disappointed that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority rejected the findings of PEB 244,” said SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich. “While the board’s recommendations did not include everything our members on the LIRR were seeking, I do think they provided an equitable framework for resolving this matter without a work stoppage.”

The first PEB recommended that the LIRR pay wage increases totaling 18.4 percent over six years (2.9 percent per year) and that employees begin contributing to health insurance premium costs. After factoring in the recommended employee health insurance contributions, the board’s recommendations will produce net wage increases of 2.5 percent per year.

The recommendations were retroactive to June 2010.

“The recommendations of the first Presidential Emergency Board ignored the enormous burden that a 17 percent wage increase over six years without a single change in work rules or other cost offset would place on the MTA’s budget,” said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan.

The members of PEB 245 are: Joshua M. Javits, appointee for chairman; Elizabeth C. Wesman, appointee for member; and M. David Vaughn, appointee for member.

“I appreciate that these dedicated individuals have agreed to devote their talent and years of experience working on labor-management disputes to help reach a swift and smooth resolution of this issue,” Obama said.

Javits is a self-employed mediator and arbitrator for labor-management, pension, commercial, contract and a variety of other disputes. He served on PEBs in 2007 and in 2009. From 1993 to 2001, Javits was a Partner at Ford & Harrison L.L.P., where he also served as Executive Director of the Labor Relations Association of Passenger Railroads. He was appointed as chairman and member of the National Mediation Board (NMB) from 1988 to 1993, where he was responsible for administering the Railway Labor Act governing labor relations in the airline and railroad industries. He was a labor-management arbitrator of record in more than 100 cases between 1985 and 1988, serving on numerous arbitration panels, including the AAA, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the NMB.

Wesman has been a full-time labor and employment arbitrator since 2000 and has practiced arbitration/mediation since 1981. She has arbitrated disputes in a wide array of industries, including railroads, aerospace, police and fire departments and public and private universities. She was previously associate professor of Strategy and Human Resources/Industrial Relations at Syracuse University from 1981 to 2000. She was also an adjunct professor at the Rochester, New York, Extension Division of Cornell University from 1990 to 2000.

Vaughn has been a full-time neutral arbitrator and mediator specializing in labor and employment disputes since 1984. He has served on three previous railroad industry PEBs. He has been handling railroad cases since 1984 and has issued hundreds of awards. His current public law board appointments include Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) and United Transportation Union (UTU), CSX and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen – Teamsters (BLET), and BNSF and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes – Teamsters (BMWET). He holds numerous umpireships and panel appointments, including Railway Labor Act panels withUnited Continental and Air Line Pilots Association, USAir and Association of Flight Attendants, and UPSA and Teamsters.