Chicago-area auto mechanics are back to work this morning after a seven-week strike. Members of Local 701 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) was on strike against 130 new car dealerships across the city. The mechanics of the local ratified a new four-year contract that addresses many of the union’s key issues.
In an article published by the Asbury Park Press, SMART TD General Chairperson (GCA 610) Steve Burkert said that he is still hopeful that a deal will be struck between New Jersey Transit (NJT) and the Rail Labor Coalition. NJT and the Rail Labor Coalition have already had two Presidential Emergency Boards (PEB) assigned by President Obama to work out an agreement. Both PEBs’ findings supported the Rail Labor Coalition’s stance. However, since the PEBs’ recommendations are non-binding, NJT has been dragging its feet in adopting the PEBs’ recommendations to provide a workable contract. The Rail Labor Coalition, which represents 17 unions, including SMART, and 4,200 union members has authorized a strike on March 13, if a deal can not be reached. NJT has also threatened a lockout on the same date. Click here to read the full story.
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. began operating a reduced freight schedule run by its managers on Feb. 15, after talks on a new contract broke down and more than 3,000 train engineers and conductors walked off the job.
Canada’s No. 2 railway and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference failed to agree on terms including on scheduling and rest time. The railway reached a deal with a second union, Unifor, which represents safety and maintenance workers.
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.
Nearly 99 percent of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) members working for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have voted to authorize a strike when a mandatory 30-day cooling off period under the Railway Labor Act ends in less than two weeks, BLET officials announced this morning.
Locomotive engineers could walk off the job or be locked out by SEPTA at 12:01 a.m. on June 14 unless President Barack Obama intervenes and appoints a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), according to a BLET press release. A PEB would delay a strike or lockout, and would investigate and issue a report and recommendations concerning a dispute in negotiations, union officials said.
TORONTO – Canadian National Railway Co said on Wednesday that the union representing roughly 3,000 of its train conductors and yard operation workers in Canada has given the company notice of its intention to strike as early as Saturday.
The strike notice comes just days after the tentative labor contract reached last year with CN, Canada’s largest rail operator, was rejected by union members.
BREWSTER, Ohio – The more than 100 locomotive engineers and trainmen who went on strike Friday have been ordered by a federal judge to return to work.
U.S. District Court Judge John R. Adams issued a temporary restraining order late Friday afternoon that ended the daylong strike by the members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, which included pickets in front of the terminal on Wabash Avenue. The workers had cited safety violations as the reason for the protest against the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway.
OTTAWA – Some 4,800 striking Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive engineers, conductors and rail traffic controllers represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference are returning to their jobs June 1 following final passage by Parliament of back-to-work legislation. The strike in Canada began May 23.
The legislation provides for appointment of an arbitrator, who will have 90 days to craft a compromise agreement that will then be imposed legislatively.
“With no prospect of resolution in sight, the government acted to ensure continued rail services for businesses, families and the economy,” said Labor Minister Lisa Raitt.
In recent years, the conservative-controlled Canadian Parliament has also ordered an end to strikes on Canadian National Railway and Air Canada, according to reports.
WASHINGTON – Senior House Republicans Nov. 29 said they would act to head off a railroad work stoppage if rail unions that so far have not settled with the carriers do not have a voluntary settlement in place by the end of a final 30-day cooling off period that expires Dec. 6.
The UTU has a ratified national rail agreement in place, while the Transportation Communications Union, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen and the various shopcrafts have reached tentative agreements. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes and the American Train Dispatchers Association have not reached a tentative agreement following recommendations for settlement by a Presidential Emergency Board.
(The BLET has ratified wage agreements in place with BNSF, CSX and Norfolk Southern — and is in separate wage negotiations with Union Pacific — but is in national handling for health care. The BMWE and the ATDA are in national handling for wage and health care agreements. Carriers in national handling include BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Soo Line, Union Pacific and many smaller railroads. The carriers are represented by the National Carriers Conference Committee.)
If a national agreement between the BLET, the BMWE, the ATDA and the carriers is not reached by Dec. 6, the Railway Labor Act has run its course and the parties not yet in accord will be free to engage in self-help – a strike by labor or lockout by railroads.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said if tentative agreements involving the BLET, the BMWE and the ATDA are not reached by Dec. 6, they would act to prevent a work stoppage.
Typically, Congress intervenes with a back-to-work order almost immediately following a work stoppage, but there is nothing to prevent Congress from acting in advance to head off a strike by, for example, legislating the PEB recommendations or even its own settlement terms.
The three senior House Republicans told The Hill newspaper Nov. 29, “We are following with concern the situation involving our nation’s railways, and we are troubled by the possibility of a national railway strike that would jeopardize American jobs and cost our nation’s economy an estimated $2 billion per day.
“While our hope is that the parties involved will find common ground and resolve the situation without congressional involvement, the House is prepared to take legislative action in the days ahead to avert a job-destroying shutdown of our nation’s railroads, in the event such legislation proves necessary,” Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy said.
“A shutdown of our nation’s railways, which would harm our economy and endanger many American jobs, is unacceptable,” they said. “We are confident President Obama and the leaders of the Senate agree.”
The National Carriers Conference Committee earlier agreed to extend the cooling off period until at least February if all three of the remaining unions that have not yet settled agreed to the extension. The BLET declined Nov. 29 to agree to an extension of the cooling off period.
The nation’s largest shipper organization, the National Industrial Transportation League, as well as the Retail Federation of America and numerous other shippers have made pleas to Congress to head off a railroad work stoppage.
“For retailers, a strike during the busy holiday shopping season could be devastating,” the National Retail Federation said in a letter to Congress. “It is imperative that Congress recognize the severe economic harm threatened by the failure to reach agreement with the remaining rail unions and move quickly to prevent a rail strike that would prove devastating to both businesses and consumers.”
SAN ANTONIO — For the scores of Teamster Union members in their fourth week on the picket line here in a strike against Pioneer Flour Mill, times are tougher than usual.
UTU Local 756 (UP, San Antonio) Chairperson John Dunn understands the hardship, and as so often occurs among UTU members, Dunn became a point-of-light, personally stepping up to the plate on behalf of his striking Teamster brothers and sisters with a random act of kindness.
Filling his pickup truck bed with 10 cases of Gatorade he purchased at a local store, Dunn headed out to the picket line one afternoon in May to distribute the beverages to the striking Pioneer workers.
The flour mill has been using managers and temporary workers to operate during the strike, and Union Pacific is utilizing managers to switch cars of corn, wheat and starch across picket lines into the mill, according to the San Antonio Express newspaper.