CLEVELAND, Ohio (May 20, 2022) — The Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) Rail Labor Unions* are preparing for in-person mediation sessions before the National Mediation Board (NMB) in Washington D.C., May 24-26. The Unions hope this will help to settle their ongoing national contract dispute.

After more than two years of bargaining, which can only be described as unproductive due to the carriers’ refusal to make or accept any worthwhile offers of settlement, negotiations entered the mediation process in January 2022.

“We are determined to keep this process moving as prescribed by the Railway Labor Act,” the CBC Chiefs said in a joint statement. “In recent weeks, the Surface Transportation Board has held hearings to investigate freight rail service meltdowns. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have expressed concern about a rail workforce that is understaffed and fatigued. To further raise the public’s concern about these issues, our members have held public protests at shareholders’ meetings. Just as they have failed in their responsibility to transport goods and materials for shippers in a timely manner, the railroads refuse to take the contract negotiating process seriously. Our members deserve better, and they have earned the right to a contract that has substantial wage increases and no concessions to their healthcare coverage.”

Supply-chain disruptions worsened by the so-called Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) operating scheme and the carriers’ massive cuts to the labor force have contributed to inflation, empty shelves and higher prices. While Class I railroads continue to reap record profits in the last few years, rail workers who have transported goods and provided services all through the coronavirus pandemic have not seen their wages increase since July 2019.

“If the railroads intend to settle this round of bargaining with a voluntary agreement, as they claim, they must promptly come to the table and meaningfully engage with all of Rail Labor,” the presidents said. “Proper closure of this round of bargaining will not only benefit our hardworking members and their families; it will benefit our entire Nation by helping to alleviate the unprecedented resignations and staffing shortages, which are contributing to rising costs and supply chain issues. The time has come for our Nation’s railroads to be held accountable for their actions, and reconcile the long-term effects of their greed.”

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*The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD).

Collectively, the CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 80% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.

Read this release in PDF form.

While waiting for a response to our recent request to the National Mediation Board that a proffer of arbitration be issued by the Board to move our contract dispute to the next level, CBC unions participated in two additional days of mediated bargaining sessions with NCCC this week.

Once again, the nation’s class 1 rail carriers showed just how far removed they are from the realities that their employees and shippers are experiencing. Without regard for the beating that these rail carriers took in front of the Surface Transportation Board a week ago, and ignoring their continued record profit reports, the rail carriers continue to advance proposals at the bargaining table that they have previously been told are unacceptable to the CBC Unions and our members.

Due to the NCCC’s refusal to negotiate a fair agreement in good faith, all CBC Unions again request that the NMB proffer arbitration to the parties to stop the endless delays by the rail carriers.

As we advised in January and April, we had hoped that the involvement of the NMB would cause the industry to refocus on addressing the legitimate needs of the men and women whose labor generates their positive financial returns. That has not happened, and there is no indication that it will without allowing the remaining steps of the Railway Labor Act to play out to compel a favorable settlement.

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The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD). Collectively, the CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 80% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.

Follow this link for a pdf of this release.

February 28, 2022 — By letter dated February 24, 2022, the rail bargaining coalition made up of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters Rail Conference and the Mechanical Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Union petitioned the National Mediation Board (NMB) for a proffer of arbitration, requesting to be released from further mediation sessions. If granted by the NMB, the proffer of arbitration is the next step in the process towards self-help and a potential Presidential Emergency Board to settle their contract dispute with the nation’s rail carriers.

The Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) unions, which are likewise in negotiations with the same rail carriers, support the BMWED/SMART Mechanical request to be released from mediation and agree that the parties are at an impasse and should be allowed to move the contract dispute to the next steps of the Railway Labor Act’s negotiation process. Although the CBC Unions are also in mediation with their next NMB-mediated bargaining session scheduled in March, the CBC made it clear to the NMB upon entering mediation that there is little, if any, hope of reaching a voluntary agreement in light of the rail carriers’ refusal to bargain in good faith with any of the rail unions. Therefore, the CBC fully expects to be making the same request for a release, and once all rail unions are released from mediation, the CBC will stand alongside the BMWED/SMART Mechanical Coalition through the final steps of the Railway Labor Act negotiation process to bring the bargaining round to a successful conclusion.

A copy of BMWED/SMART Mechanical’s February 23, 2022, letter to the National Mediation Board can be found by clicking here.


The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD).

Collectively, the CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 80% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.

The Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) released the following statement on January 24, 2022:

After more than two years of bargaining with the major U.S. Class 1 railroads, discussions completely stalled last week. Accordingly, pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Railway Labor Act, top leaders of 10 rail unions applied to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for the assignment of a federal mediator to assist in our negotiations.

The Carriers represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) simply are not bargaining in good faith. This development is very frustrating, as the Unions in the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition have been at the negotiating table since November 2019. Throughout that time, despite our best efforts, the carriers have not made a comprehensive settlement proposal that we believe our members would even remotely entertain. In fact, the Carriers’ latest proposal is worse than bad faith; it is insulting.

After carrying our nation through the pandemic, and as the carriers have posted record-breaking profit margins due to their implementation of so-called “Precision Scheduled Railroading” practices, our members have earned, and rightfully expect, a substantial contract settlement that recognizes the sacrifices they and their families make each day. Instead, the Carriers continue to push proposals that fail to even catch up to the cost of living. From the beginning of this round of negotiations, the CBC has adamantly refused to accept any type of concessionary agreement. Instead, the railroads continue to demand extreme changes to our members’ current benefits and attempt to unilaterally impose work rule changes that would further erode our members’ already-taxed standard of living.

We anticipate that the involvement of the NMB will cause the industry to refocus on addressing the legitimate needs of the men and women whose labor generates their positive financial returns. In an effort to bring all affected members up to speed, the CBC’s latest proposal can be found at:

CBC bargaining proposal (SMART-TD)

Additional information will be provided as developments warrant. We appreciate your continuing support, and we look forward to working with the NMB to reach a settlement that we can be proud of.

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The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD).
Collectively, the CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 80% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.

Read this release in PDF form.

September 22, 2021 — The Rail Unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC), negotiating together in the current round of National Negotiations, have issued the following statement:
“As we advised in January of 2021, the CBC and the nation’s rail carriers have been at the bargaining table since the beginning of 2020. Since January, CBC has continued to meet with the Rail Carriers, returning to in-person meetings in August. At that meeting, CBC made it clear to the Rail Carriers that neither our Bargaining Coalition, nor our collective memberships, would accept a concessionary agreement on a voluntary basis. The Carriers were told that our members have been asked to work as essential workers throughout the Pandemic, while being treated more like expendable workers. Our members are infuriated that they have worked through these conditions without a wage increase in over two (2) years and it is unacceptable that the Nation’s Rail Carriers continue to stonewall CBC Unions in our effort to settle our contract negotiations on a voluntary basis.
“In January, we said that ‘the Rail Carriers have not made any proposals worthy of consideration by the membership of the CBC Unions.’ No Carrier proposals have been received since our January 2021 update that would change the veracity of that statement. We will continue to negotiate in good faith, fully recognizing that it is our members who must ratify any voluntary agreement.”

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The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD).
Collectively, the CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 80% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.
Read this update in PDF form.

January 22, 2021 — The Rail Unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC), negotiating together in the current round of National Negotiations, have issued the following statement:
The CBC and the nation’s Rail Carriers first met concerning the November 1, 2019, Section 6 Notices in January 2020.  Although the COVID-19 pandemic has made meetings for groups of this size challenging, the parties continued to meet virtually to make presentations concerning their proposals throughout 2020.  Additional meetings have now been scheduled for early 2021.
While CBC and the Rail Carriers continue to share and discuss all aspects of what would be necessary to reach a voluntary agreement, the Rail Carriers have not made any proposals worthy of consideration by the membership of the CBC Unions.  The parties will continue to meet in good faith as we move into 2021, fully cognizant that it is our members who must ratify any voluntary agreement.

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The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD).

Collectively, the CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 80% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.

View this release in PDF form.

Bargaining teams from 10 unions that make up the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) for this round of national freight rail negotiations participated in a Zoom conference with National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC) Chairman Brendan Branon and participating Carrier representatives on July 28th. This meeting was held for the sole purpose of reviewing PowerPoint presentations relative to each side’s respective positions on issues contained within their Section 6 Notices. While there were no negotiations during the Zoom conference, the meeting was beneficial to both sides in an effort to keep the process moving forward in a good-faith effort to achieve a voluntary agreement.
The first formal negotiating session took place, in person, earlier this year on February 26th and 27th and a second meeting had been scheduled for March 31st. This meeting was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and all subsequent scheduled meetings were also canceled. Tuesday’s conference was the first time the parties had convened in any manner since February.
Members of the unions participating in the CBC will be kept apprised of further developments on your contract negotiations as developments warrant.

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The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD).
Collectively, the CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 80% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.
Read this update in PDF form.

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.

On November 20, SMART Transportation Division (SMART-TD) General Chairpersons served on railroads represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) the SMART-TD’s intended amendments to agreements affecting rates of pay, rules and working conditions.

Such notices are required by Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act to reopen agreements. With this notice to the NCCC, and the NCCC’s earlier notice, the parties are set to begin the next round of bargaining.

While the national rail contract between the SMART-TD and railroads represented by the NCCC becomes amendable on January 1, 2020, the existing contract will remain in force until it is amended and ratified by SMART-TD members under the craft autonomy provisions of the SMART Constitution’s Article Twenty-One B (21B).

During this round of national contract negotiations with the SMART-TD, the NCCC will be the chief bargaining representative for matters pertaining to rates of pay, rules, and working conditions on behalf of BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Canadian National, Norfolk Southern, Soo Line, Union Pacific and numerous smaller railroads. Other railroads, including Amtrak, negotiate individually with the SMART-TD.
More than 40,000 SMART-TD members are affected by these national contract talks with the NCCC, and the resulting agreements frequently set patterns for other negotiated rail agreements.

SMART-TD President Jeremy R. Ferguson will lead the SMART-TD negotiating team. Members of the negotiating team will be selected early next month.

As noted in a press release on November 1, 2019, the SMART-TD will be joining with nine (9) other rail labor organizations who are participating in coordinated bargaining in this round of national negotiations.
Major elements of the SMART-TD’s Section 6 notices include:

  • Complete and permanent elimination of existing service scale (entry rates of pay);
  • A series of general wage increases, effective Jan. 1, 2020, and every six months thereafter;
  • Cost of living adjustments;
  • Shift- and weekend-differential pay;
  • Paid sick leave for all crafts, without censure or discipline;
  • Technology pay for daily required utilization of all in-cab and handheld reporting devices;
  • Additional rest opportunities and ability to miss work for family needs, quality of life, and doctor visits;
  • Additional training pay for all crafts, including compensation for qualification, re-qualification, and familiarization trips;
  • Carriers to give first-employment consideration to qualified conductors furloughed from other railroads;
  • Furloughed employees called back to work will be guaranteed a minimum of 60 days of work and pay;
  • Increased meal allowances;
  • Restrictions on transferring, consolidating, combining or centralizing yardmaster assignments;
  • Establishment of a formula for yardmaster extra boards; and
  • Enhanced benefits under the NRC/UTU Health and Welfare Plan and the Railroad Employees’ National Health and Welfare Plan (GA-23000).

SMART-TD Section 6 notices were developed beginning with recommendations offered by SMART-TD members. A committee of general chairpersons from the Association of General Chairpersons, District No. 1, reviewed and fine-tuned those suggestions, which were then approved by the entire Association of General Chairpersons, District 1.

To view the SMART-TD Section 6 notice, click here:
https://static.smart-union.org/worksite/PDFs/2019+National+Rail+Contract/112019+–+Section+6+Notice.pdf

To view the carriers’ Section 6 notice, click here:
https://static.smart-union.org/worksite/PDFs/2019+National+Rail+Contract/110119+–+NCCC+Section+6+Notice+-+SMART+TD.pdf