JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 28, 2023) — Conductors and trainmen on CSX northern lines ratified an agreement for paid sick time today.
SMART Transportation Division GO-049 negotiated the deal with CSX Transportation earlier this month, but it still faced approval by the membership and local officers. Today, SMART-TD General Chairperson Richard Lee announced that the agreement was ratified by the majority of ballots returned.
The lack of paid sick time within the railroad industry was highlighted in the media in 2022 when workers rejected a tentative national agreement that covered most railroad carriers and labor organizations, almost leading to a shutdown of the nation’s vital supply chain.
Since then, CSX reached agreements with several non-operating-craft labor organizations. However, CSX and other Class I carriers failed to reach an agreement with any operating-craft labor organization. The operating crafts (which include engineers, conductors and trainmen) have what is perceived as the most demanding of working conditions of the railroad crafts due to the travel requirements, working in the elements and the on-call nature of their positions. This agreement establishes a benefit in the railroad industry that the majority of the American workforce already enjoy.
In addition to paid sick time, the agreement, which covers approximately 2,400 conductors and trainmen on CSX Northern line, also adopts the current attendance policy put in place by CSX into the collective bargaining agreement. Railroads in the past have been reluctant to negotiate attendance and this is another first for the operating workforce as it subjects the former policy (now agreement) to negotiations if any changes are desired by either the carrier or the employees in the future. In return, the carrier gained flexibility and cost savings through provisions that allow conductors and trainmen to drive company-provided vehicles under certain conditions and also settled a long-term dispute between the SMART-TD and CSX regarding assignment placement.
“It’s refreshing and impressive to see the overwhelming support of the membership on this tentative agreement. It is also encouraging that SMART-TD and CSX leadership were able to sit down at the table and reach a consensus on items as important as these. I am hopeful this momentum will carry forward in future negotiations and help us collectively improve the working conditions and overall moral at CSX,” GC Lee said when asked about his overall feelings on the issues and outcome of the process.
Upon the initial announcement of the tentative agreement being reached, SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy, Ferguson said, “We thank CSX CEO Joseph Hinrichs and Executive Vice President Jamie Boychuk for exhibiting flexibility and working with our union in a collaborative manner in reaching this tentative agreement. This serves as a vital first step to giving T&E personnel the paid sick time they deserve, and I am hopeful this accommodation will be soon be extended to the employees working under the jurisdiction of the other General Committees at CSX as well.”
About SMART Transportation Division GO-049
SMART Transportation Division GO-049 (General Committee of Adjustment) is based in Jacksonville, FL. The General Committee negotiates and maintains property agreements for approximately 2,600 railroad employees in the northeastern quadrant of the United States including several short-line carriers and CSX Transportation. GO-049 is one General Committee of 62 that make up SMART-TD, the largest freight railroad labor union in the United States.