A SMART Transportation Division officer and a general chairperson have been elevated to new Transportation Division positions following the retirement of Alternate Vice President R.W. “Red” Dare Nov. 30.
The Transportation Division Board of Directors Dec. 19 elevated Executive Board Alternate John D. Whitaker III to fill the vacancy created by Dare’s retirement. At the same time, the board elected Union Pacific GO 927 Vice General Chairperson Jeremy Don Brooks to fill the executive board vacancy.
Whitaker began his railroading career in 1997 with CSX Transportation as a conductor and was promoted to engineer in 2002. Around that same time, Whitaker began his union career when he was elected local chairperson for engineers of Local 1106 at Rocky Mount, N.C.
Four years later, Whitaker ran for and was elected to the position of vice general chairperson of CSX General Committee of Adjustment GO 851. In 2011, he was elected general chairperson, a position that he still holds. In October 2013, Whitaker was appointed alternate to the executive board and then elected to that position by delegates at the 2014 Transportation Division convention. He currently resides with his wife and three sons in Jacksonville, Fla.
Brooks has been employed by Union Pacific railroad since 2004 and was promoted to engineer in 2007. Since then, he’s been active in the affairs of Local 937 at Mart, Texas. Brooks began his union career by serving as alternate delegate for his local. He rose through the ranks quickly, serving as local chairperson, vice general chairperson for GO 927 and then first vice chairperson for the committee. He currently holds both offices within the committee, as well as the position of local delegate. He currently resides in Burleson, Texas.
A member of Local 1525, Carbondale, Ill., Dare has served his union as local president, local chairperson, general secretary, vice general chairperson and general chairperson. He was elected alternate vice president-South by delegates at the UTU International convention in 2007. Dare was re-elected to the position in 2011 and at the first SMART Transportation Division convention in 2014.
Dare and his wife have three children and seven grandchildren. The family resides in Benton, Ill.
SMART Transportation Division-represented conductors and trainmen employed by the Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad have ratified a new six-year agreement, Vice President Dave Wier reports.
The agreement provides for six annual wage increases retroactive to Aug. 1, 2010, with the final wage increase to be effective Jan. 1, 2015, totaling 18.6 percent and resulting in a cumulative wage increase of 20.08 percent over the life of the agreement. The accord includes conductor certification pay rolled into the rates of pay and full retroactive back pay for all active trainmen and employees that retired or died subsequent to Aug. 1, 2010.
The agreement also lowers the calculated vacation qualification days from 240 to 160 days; increases the meal allowance to $12 after four hours and every eight hours thereafter at the away-from-home terminal; improves bereavement leave; provides for a furlough retention board; institutes provisions for temporary transfer to other CN properties, and establishes seniority on the first day of compensated service.
It also establishes regular assignments after four consecutive days of similar-type work and provides for six-and-two and four-and-two work rest cycles with local negotiations concerning eleven-and-three work rest cycles. Participation in the National Health and Welfare plans continues.
“The work rest cycles are, six days of work followed by two days of rest, and four days of work followed by two days of rest, in a 14-day period,” Wier said. “The 11 and three is subject to local negotiations and includes ‘Smart Rest,’ to allow an employee’s consecutive work days to be reset by taking a 24-hour period off. This complies with Rail Safety Improvement Act regulations.”
Wier, who assisted with the mediated negotiations, expressed his appreciation to CN/IC GO 401 General Chairperson Tracy Bublitz (234), retired General Chairperson R.W. “Red” Dare (1525), GO 433 Acting General Chairperson Butch St. John (1557) and GO 433 General Committee Secretary Jerry “J.J.” Russum (1334) for their exceptional effort in bringing the members’ concerns to the bargaining table.
“This agreement will make their members some of the highest paid rail employees in the country,” Wier said.
Two new UTU negotiated rail agreements have been ratified by members.
UTU-represented trainmen and engineers employed by Evansville & Western Railroad overwhelmingly ratified a new five-year agreement, while UTU-represented trainmen and engineers employed by Iowa Interstate Railroad ratified a new six-year agreement.
The Evansville & Western agreement provides for substantial wage increases with full back-pay, certification pay for conductors and engineers, freezes health care insurance contributions, preserves cost-of-living adjustments, and improves working conditions and seniority moves.
UTU International Vice-President Dave Wier, who assisted with the negotiations, congratulated General Chairperson R.W. “Red” Dare (Canadian National, GO 433) and Local 1525 Chairperson Danny Kautzman for “the great effort put forth in negotiating an agreement with dramatic improvements in wages and working conditions. The wage increases, coupled with the certification pay, provide members with outstanding increases in the daily rates of pay,” Wier said.
The Iowa Interstate agreement provides for wage increases, a boost in the meal allowance, plus improvements in vacation provisions, working conditions and allowances. Also established is a seniority maintenance provision, and covered employees will gain coverage under the UTU National Health and Welfare Plan as well as the national dental and vision plans.
Wier also assisted with the Iowa Interstate negotiations. He praised General Chairperson Dave McFarland, Local 258 Chairperson Norman Kitchen, and Local 258 President Jesse West for “the extraordinary effort put forth in negotiating a solid agreement with substantial improvements in wages, working conditions and health care benefits. The National Health and Welfare package is far superior to the former Iowa Interstate plan in all aspects and was an integral part of the negotiation process,” Wier said.
Evansville & Western operates some 124 route miles between Evansville, Ind., and Owkawville, Ill, with a branch to Mt. Vernon, Ind. Iowa Interstate operates almost 600 route miles between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Chicago, with a branch to Peoria, Ill., and connects with all major North American rail systems.