SHREVEPORT, La. — First Lady Michelle Obama will visit a Kansas City Southern Railway facility in Shreveport, La., Thursday, April 12, where the UTU represents various crafts, to celebrate the 50,000 veteran or military spouses hired by American companies nationwide as part of the president’s Joining Forces initiative encouraging the hiring.

Kansas City Southern is among numerous railroads that have recruited and hired veterans and military spouses.

CANADIAN NATIONAL

Canadian National reported a 9 percent increase in profit for calendar-year 2011 versus calendar-year 2010.

The CN calendar-year operating ratio of 63.5 percent was a slight improvement over the 63.6 percent operating ratio for calendar-year 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

CN said “solid operational and service performance helped CN deliver exceptional financial results.”

CN is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include what were formerly Detroit, Toledo & Ironton; Elgin, Joliet & Eastern; Grand Trunk Western; Illinois Central; and Wisconsin Central.

 

CANADIAN PACIFIC

Canadian Pacific reported a 12 percent reduction in profit for calendar-year 2011 versus calendar-year 2010.

The CP calendar-year 2011 operating ratio of 81.3 was a steep increase from the 77.6 percent calendar-year 2010 operating ratio. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

CP said, “We exited 2011 having made meaningful progress on the three pillars of our multi-year plan: driving growth, expanding network capacity to safely and efficiently support higher volumes and controlling costs.

Canadian Pacific is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include Class I Soo Line and regional railroad Delaware & Hudson.

 

CSX

Despite reductions in agricultural, chemicals, coal and intermodal shipments, CSX reported an 11 percent increase in profit for calendar-year 2011 versus calendar-year 2010.

The CSX calendar-year operating ratio of 70.9 percent was an improvement from the 71.1 percent operating ratio for calendar-year 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad. For the fourth quarter 2011, the CSX operating ratio increased to 71.5 percent from 70.0 percent for the fourth-quarter 2010.

CSX Chairman Michael Ward told investors, “Our performance in 2011 has set a strong foundation for growth.”

CSX operates some 21,000 route miles in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

 

KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN

Kansas City Southern reported a 26 percent increase in profit for calendar-year 2011 versus calendar-year 2010.

The KCS calendar-year operating ratio was 70.9 percent versus 73.2 percent for calendar-year 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad. For the fourth quarter 2011, the KCS operating ratio was 71.6 percent, an improvement from fourth-quarter 2010.

The railroad said 2011 was “the first time in our railroad’s 125 years we attained over $2 billion revenue and two million carloads.”

KCS operates some 3,500 route miles in 10 states in the Central and South-Central U.S., as well as Kansas City Southern de Mexico, a primary Mexican rail line.

 

NORFOLK SOUTHERN

Norfolk Southern reported a 28 percent increase in profit for calendar-year 2011 versus calendar-year 2010.

The railroad’s calendar-year 2011 operating ratio of 71.2 percent was a 1 percentage point improvement over calendar-year 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

NS said said it “achieved all-time records for revenues, operating income, net income, and earnings per share during 2011, and set fourth-quarter records for revenues, net income, and earnings per share.”

Norfolk Southern operates some 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

UNION PACIFIC

Union Pacific reported an 18 percent increase in profit for calendar-year 2011 versus calendar-year 2010, citing improvements in “core pricing.”

UP’s calendar-year 2011 operating ratio of 70.7 percent was but one-tenth of one-percent off its record 70.6 percent operating ratio for 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad. UP’s operating ratio of 68.3 percent was a record fourth-quarter low, and almost two percentage points improved from its 2010 fourth-quarter operating ratio.

UP said it still had 1,030 employees on furlough at year-end – down from 1,500 at year-end 2010 and well below the 4,200 on furlough at the end of 2009.

“We expect continued slow but steady economic growth in 2012,” Union Pacific CEO Jim Young said.

Union Pacific operates some 32,000 route miles in 23 states in the western two-thirds of the U.S.

BNSF, which is privately held, has not yet posted its 2011 financial results. They will be added when available.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has determined that only one major railroad – Union Pacific – was “revenue adequate” in calendar year 2010.

A railroad is considered “revenue adequate” if it achieves a rate of return on net investment equal to at least the current cost of capital for the railroad industry.

Revenue adequacy determines long-term financial sustainability – the ability to pay investors competitive returns as well as covering the cost of efficient operation, which includes obtaining capital for new equipment; to maintain existing track, bridges, signal systems and other capital assets; and to fund capacity expansion.

For 2010, the STB concluded that the current cost of capital for the railroad industry was 11.03 percent, and only Union Pacific achieved a rate of return equal to or exceeding that percentage. No railroad was found to be “revenue adequate” for calendar year 2009.

For 2010, the STB determined that Union Pacific achieved a rate of return on net investment of 11.54 percent; Norfolk Southern, 10.96 percent; CSX, 10.85 percent; Kansas City Southern, 9.77 percent; BNSF, 9.22 percent; Canadian National U.S. affiliates, 9.21 percent; and Canadian Pacific U.S. affiliates, 8.01 percent.

BNSF reported a 9 percent improvement in profit for the third quarter 2011 versus the third quarter 2010.

The third-quarter operating ratio of 71.7 percent was slightly higher than the 70.8 percent for third-quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

BNSF, which is privately held by Berkshire Hathway, operates 28,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces.

Canadian National reported a 19 percent increase in profit for the third quarter 2011 versus the third quarter 2010.

CN said a 4 percent increase in carloadings and a 9 percent increase in revenue, coupled with “rigorous cost control” drove its higher third quarter earnings.

CN’s third quarter 2011 operating ratio of 59.3 percent improved from the 60.7 percent operating ratio during the third quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

CN is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include what were formerly Detroit, Toledo & Ironton; Elgin, Joliet & Eastern; Grand Trunk Western; Illinois Central; and Wisconsin Central.


Canadian Pacific’s third quarter 2011 profit fell by 5 percent versus third quarter 2010.

CP’s third quarter 2011 operating ratio deteriorated to 75.8 percent, more than two percentage points higher than its 73.7 percent operating ratio for the third quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

Canadian Pacific is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include Class I Soo Line and regional railroad Delaware & Hudson.

CSX reported a 12 percent increase in profit for the third quarter 2011 versus the third quarter 2010, much of it the result of higher freight rates as traffic volume slowed.

The railroad said higher fuel surcharges improved its bottom line, offsetting higher costs. CSX said also that its earnings were helped by increased coal exports to China that offset a weakness in domestic coal shipments. Coal accounts for some 33 percent of CSX revenue.

CSX’s third quarter 2011 operating ratio deteriorated to 70.4 percent versus 69.1 percent for the third quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

CSX operates some 21,000 route miles in 23 states and the District of Columbia.


Kansas City Southern reported a 99 percent improvement in profits for the third quarter 2011 versus third quarter 2010, driven by higher freight rates and a record level of carloadings, boosted through increased production of automobiles in Mexico destined for U.S. markets.

“These achievements are all the more impressive given the operating challenges caused by prolonged flooding in the Midwest, particularly along the Missouri River,” said CEO David Starling. “The flooding resulted in the closure of a primary rail line into Kansas City from mid-June through Labor Day, which significantly disrupted grain and coal traffic.”

KCS’s operating ratio of 66.6 for the third quarter 2011 was a sharp improvement from the 73.5 percent in third quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

KCS operates some 3,500 route miles in 10 states in the Central and South-Central U.S., as well as Kansas City Southern de Mexico, a primary Mexican rail line.

Norfolk Southern reported a 24 percent increase in third quarter profit versus third quarter 2010, citing increased freight rates and a 23 percent boost in coal hauled for export.

The third quarter produced for NS “all-time records for income from operations and earnings per share, while also establishing third-quarter records for net income and operating ratio,” said NS CEO Wick Moorman.

The NS third quarter 2011 operating ratio of 67.5 was a third-quarter record low and 2.1 percentage points below its third-quarter 2010 operating ratio of 69.6 percent. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

NS operates some 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

Union Pacific reported a 16 percent increase in profits for the third quarter 2011 versus third quarter 2010, citing price increases and fuel surcharges in the face of a sluggish economy, weather-related difficulties in parched Texas and sharply higher fuel prices.

UP’s operating ratio of 69.1 percent for the third quarter 2011 was slightly higher than the record 68.2 percent operating ratio it posted in the third quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the more efficient the railroad.

Union Pacific operates some 32,000 route miles in 23 states in the western two-thirds of the U.S.

As BNSF is now privately held, it does not report its earnings.

Canadian National:

Canadian National Railway July 25 reported an 8 percent increase in profit for the second quarter 2011 versus the second quarter 2010, citing a 10 percent increase in intermodal loadings (trailers and containers on flat cars) and a 14 percent increase in intermodal revenue.

CN’s second quarter 2011 operating ratio of 62.3 percent showed little change from the 61.2 percent for the second quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability.

CN is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include what were formerly Detroit, Toledo & Ironton; Elgin, Joliet & Eastern; Grand Trunk Western; Illinois Central; and Wisconsin Central.

Canadian Pacific:

Canadian Pacific Railway’s second quarter 2011 profit fell by 23 percent versus second quarter 2010, owing to widespread and prolonged flood disruptions, said the carrier.

CP’s second quarter 2011 operating ratio of 88.8 was four percentage points higher than the operating ratio for the second quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability.

Canadian Pacific is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include Class I Soo Line and regional railroad Delaware & Hudson.

CSX:

CSX July 19 reported a 22 percent increase in profit for the second quarter 2011 versus the second quarter 2010, much of it the result of higher freight rates as traffic volume slowed.

CSX said the improved profits will allow $2.2 billion in spending to make improvements to its tracks, yards and signals, and purchase additional locomotives and freight cars. The railroad also said it will increase employment by 4 percent in 2011, double its proposed headcount increase announced earlier in the year.

CSX’s second quarter 2011 operating ratio declined to 69.3, versus 7.2 for the second quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability.

CSX operates some 21,000 route miles in 23 states and the District of Columbia

Kansas City Southern:

Kansas City Southern July 21 reported a 19 percent improvement in profits for the second quarter 2011 versus second quarter 2010, driven by improved auto, intermodal and coal traffic as it established records for the number of carloads handled.

Its operating ratio of 71.7 was almost a full percentage point better than its operating ratio in the second quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability.

KCS operates some 3,500 route miles in 10 states in the Central and South-Central U.S., as well as Kansas City Southern de Mexico, a primary Mexican rail line.

Norfolk Southern:

Norfolk Southern July 26 reported a record second-quarter profit – a 42 percent improvement for second quarter 2011 versus second quarter 2010. The railroad cited increased intermodal traffic (trailers and containers on flat cars) and coal loadings as significant contributors to the improved earnings.

The NS second quarter 2011 operating ratio of 69.5 percent was slightly improved from the 69.9 percent for second quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability.

NS operates some 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

Union Pacific:

Union Pacific July 21 reported a 10 percent increase in profits for the second quarter 2011 versus second quarter 2010, citing prices increases and an 11 percent increase in chemicals and agricultural carloads. The railroad said it was the best-ever quarterly earnings.

UP’s operating ratio of 71.3, however, was 1.9 percent higher than second quarter 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability.

UP said it plans to hire some 4,500 new workers by the end of 2011 – 3,000 to replace those retiring and 1,500 to new positions.

Union Pacific operates some 32,000 route miles in 23 states in the western two-thirds of the U.S.

 As BNSF is now privately held, it does not report quarterly earnings.

Most major North American freight railroads reported strong earnings for the first quarter 2011 versus first quarter 2010.

Following is a wrap-up for the quarterly earnings reported by the railroads to the investment community.

Not included is BNSF, which is privately held and does not report its financial results to the investment community.

Mention is made of each railroad’s operating ratio. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the higher is profit.

Canadian National

Canadian National reported a 31 percent increase in first quarter 2011 profit versus first quarter 2010. This comes following a 19 percent increase in CN profit for calendar year 2010.

CN’s operating ratio for the first quarter 2011 was 69 percent, slightly better than the 69.3 percent reported for first quarter 2010. The railroad’s fourth-quarter 2010 operating ratio was 63.6.

CN is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include what were formerly Detroit, Toledo & Ironton; Elgin, Joliet & Eastern; Grand Trunk Western; Illinois Central; and Wisconsin Central.

Canadian Pacific

Canadian Pacific Railway was the only major North American rail system reporting a drop in profit for the first quarter 2011 compared with first quarter 2010. CP cited severe winter weather as the cause of its profit decline.

CP’s calendar-year 2010 profit increased by 39 percent.

The railroad’s first quarter 2011 operating ratio soared to 90.6 compared with 82.3 in the first quarter 2010. CP’s fourth quarter 2010 operating ratio was 77.6.

CP said its 15,143 employee count increased by 613 during the quarter, but gave no indication of whether it would add employees the remainder of 2011.

First quarter 2011 train speeds fell by almost 14 percent and the number of train accidents soared by 57 percent — both attributed to a dramatic increase in the number of avalanches in the Canadian Rockies and winter-long blowing snow throughout CP’s North American rail network.

Canadian Pacific is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include Class I Soo Line and regional railroad Delaware & Hudson.

CSX

CSX profit jumped 30 percent during the first quarter 2011 versus the first quarter 2010, the railroad reported April 19. This comes on the heels of a 35 percent improvement in operating profit for calendar year 2010.

The CSX employee headcount rose in March to 30,464 employees, up 3 percent from March 2010, the railroad said.

The CSX operating ratio for the first quarter 2011 was a record low 72.5 for any first quarter. The fourth quarter 2010 CSX operating ratio was 71.1.

CSX operates some 21,000 route miles in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

Kansas City Southern

Kansas City Southern’s first-quarter 2011 profit was almost double that of the first quarter 2010. This followed an 82 percent increase in profit for calendar-year 2010.

The employee headcount remained constant at 6,080. The railroad did not indicate whether it would be increasing its headcount in 2011.

The KCS first quarter operating ratio declined significantly, from 75.2 percent the first quarter 2010 to 73.8 for the first quarter 2011. The railroad’s fourth-quarter 2010 operating ratio was 73.2.

KCS operates some 3,500 route miles in 10 states in the Central and South-Central U.S., as well as Kansas City Southern de Mexico, a primary Mexican rail line.

Norfolk Southern

Norfolk Southern reported a 26 percent increase in profit for first quarter 2011 versus first quarter 2010. This follows a 45 jump in NS profit for calendar-year 2010.

NS said it would add some 1,100 new workers during 2011, returning employment to the same level as in 2008.

NS operating ratio for first quarter 2011 was 77.1 percent, higher than the 75.2 percent in the first quarter 2010, owing, in part, to severe winter weather. The fourth-quarter 2010 NS operating ratio was 71.9 percent.

NS operates some 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

Union Pacific

Union Pacific profit rose 24 percent in first quarter 2011 compared with first quarter 2010, This follows a 47 percent jump in Union Pacific profit for calendar-year 2010.

UP said the railroad would increase its 43,000 employee headcount by about 4,500 in 2011.

The railroad reported a best-ever first quarter operating ratio of 74.7 percent — one of the more difficult for railroads because of winter weather. The fourth quarter 2010 UP operating ratio was 73.2.

Union Pacific operates some 32,000 route miles in 23 states in the western two-thirds of the U.S.

Kansas City Southern’s first-quarter 2011 profit was almost double that of the first quarter 2010, the railroad reported April 22. This followed an 82 percent increase in profit for calendar-year 2010.

The employee headcount remains constant at 6,080. The railroad did not indicate whether it would be increasing its headcount in 2011.

The KCS first quarter operating ratio declined significantly, from 75.2 percent the first quarter 2010 to 73.8 for the first quarter 2011. The railroad’s fourth-quarter 2010 operating ratio was 73.2.

Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the higher is profit.

“We are especially pleased with the expansive growth in our intermodal (trailers and containers atop flat cars) business,” said CEO David Starling, who reported that cross-border intermodal traffic had increased by 70 percent during the first quarter 2011 compared with first quarter 2010. He said almost half of KCS freight revenue comes from cross-border traffic.

KCS operates some 3,500 route miles in 10 states in the Central and South-Central U.S., as well as Kansas City Southern de Mexico, a primary Mexican rail line.

How did major railroads perform in 2010?

Reviewing their calendar-year and fourth-quarter profit statements, one wouldn’t know they were operating in the midst of a nationwide recession.

Profits soared, stock dividends were raised and operating ratios improved. (Operating ratio — a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue — is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability.)

Wall Street analyst Ed Wolfe reports the level of freight car and intermodal loadings for the year registered “the best” year-over-year growth in more than 50 years.

Wolfe and other analysts also point to the railroads’ pricing strength — the ability to raise rates on shippers with limited effective alternatives to railroad transportation. Many long-term contracts for hauling coal are expiring, and substantial rate increases on that traffic already are reflected in new contracts.

Indeed, railroad CEOs are predicting another strongly profitable year in 2011, which was reflected in year-end railroad stock prices, which were flirting with record highs.

Following are profit reports from the major railroads:

 Canadian National:

  • Fourth-quarter profit increased 19 percent.
  • Calendar-year 2010 profit increased 13.5 percent.
  • Operating ratio improved four percentage points to 63.6.
  • The stock dividend was raised 20 percent.
  • The year-end stock price was up 38 percent. Analysts predict CN’s stock price will rise another 4 percent in 2011.

 Canadian Pacific:

  • Fourth-quarter profit increased 34 percent.
  • Calendar-year 2010 profit increased 39 percent.
  • Operating ratio improved four percentage points to 77.6.
  • The stock dividend was raised 9 percent.
  • The year-end stock price was up 45 percent. Analysts predict CP’s stock price will rise another 8 percent in 2011.

 CSX:

  • Fourth-quarter profit increased 46 percent.
  • Calendar-year 2010 profit increased 35 percent.
  • Operating ratio improved four percentage points to 71.1.
  • The stock dividend was raised 26 percent.
  • The year-end stock price was up 62 percent. Analysts predict CSX’s stock price will rise another 6 percent in 2011.

 Kansas City Southern:

  • Fourth-quarter profit increased 47 percent.
  • Calendar-year 2010 profit increased 82 percent.
  • Operating ratio improved 8.8 percentage points to 73.2.
  • The year-end stock price was up 74 percent. Analysts predict KCS’s stock price will rise another 7 percent in 2011.

 Norfolk Southern:

  • Fourth-quarter profit increased 31 percent.
  • Calendar-year 2010 profit increased 45 percent.
  • Operating ratio improved 5 percentage points to 71.9.
  • The stock dividend was raised 11 percent.
  • The year-end stock price was up 41 percent. Analysts predict NS’s stock price will rise another 8 percent in 2011.

 Union Pacific:

  • Fourth-quarter profit increased 31 percent.
  • Calendar-year 2010 profit increased 47 percent. UP Chairman Jim Young said 2010 was the “most profitable year in Union Pacific’s nearly 150-year history.”
  • Operating ratio improved 5.5 percentage points to 70.6.
  • The stock dividend was raised 40 percent.
  • The year-end stock price was up 60 percent. Analysts predict UP’s stock price will rise another 8 percent in 2011.

 BNSF:

As BNSF is now privately held, it no longer reports detailed financial data.

By Assistant President Arty Martin and
GS&T Kim Thompson

Among the most difficult challenges facing us in 2009 arrives in November, when we exchange Railway Labor Act Section 6 notices with the carriers — the list of each side’s demands for the next collective bargaining round.

Our national rail contract is open for renewal on Jan. 1, 2010, and this upcoming bargaining round will be among our toughest ever given the deteriorating state of the national economy, the advance of technology and Wall Street pressure on railroads to deliver increased profits.

While the national rail contract affects members on only BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific, these national contracts tend to be a trend setter for bargaining on other freight railroads and Amtrak, and are frequently referred to by commuter railroads.

A reasonable individual might have good reason to assume the upcoming bargaining round will be favorable to employees. After all, railroads are among today’s few solidly profitable industries in America, and Wall Street confirms they have unprecedented pricing power. Moreover, the carriers continue to improve productivity, and it is the workers — especially operating craft employees — who are most responsible.

Indeed, the railroads’ own figures, as published by the Association of American Railroads, show that revenue ton-miles per employee — the best benchmark for measuring productivity — has soared five-fold since 1980, from 2.1 million revenue ton-miles per employee to almost 11 million revenue ton-miles per employee today.

Accordingly, the railroads’ labor costs have declined by 43 percent — from 46.5 cents of every revenue dollar in 1980, to 26.4 cents of every revenue dollar today.

This is because the employee headcount has dropped from 532,000 in 1980 to 236,000 today — a 56 percent decline in workers, while productivity has soared. Among train and engine service employees, the head count fell from almost 136,000 in 1980 to fewer than 70,000 train and engine service employees today.

Unfortunately, none of this matters to the carriers at the bargaining table, because it is hot Wall Street dollars that set the tone of carrier Section 6 notices.

Perhaps you have noticed Wall Street investment funds have been buying up shares of the major railroads.

BNSF, for example, is 46 percent owned by Wall Street investment funds. At CSX, the figure is 35 percent; at Union Pacific, 34 percent; at Kansas City Southern, 33 percent; and at Norfolk Southern, 32 percent, according to Bloomberg News.

These investment funds, some of them based in foreign countries, have a narrow focus of increasing stock price and increasing dividend payouts — often without concern to an appropriate level of railroad maintenance, and certainly without concern for employees and their families.

For sure, investment funds are behind the anti-labor policies at Wal-Mart and policies that export good American jobs overseas.

What a labor union does is to fight back — and the UTU will be spending the months leading up to the exchange of Section 6 notices by building our case on behalf of our members.

Who Owns the Railroads

BNSF 
Berkshire Hathaway21.8%

Capital Research Global

5.6%

Barclays Global

3.3%

UBS Global

3.0%

Vanguard Group

2.8%

State Street Corp.

2.7%

Fidelity Mgt.

2.4%

Capital World Invest.

1.7%

JP Morgan Chase

1.2%

Barrow, Hanley

1.2%

Total

45.7%

  

 CSX

 

Citigroup

5.4%

Barclays Global

4.7%

Children’s Invest. Fund

4.5%

3G Capital

4.4%

Deutsche Bank

4.2%

State Street Corp.

3.6%

Vanguard Group

3.2%

Tiger Global

1.9%

Bank of N.Y.

1.6%

JP Morgan Chase1.3%

Total

34.8%

  

 KCS

 

Neuberger Berman

6.2%

Wellington Mgt.

5.7%

Marathon Asset Mgt.

4.1%

Barclays Global

3.6%

Vanguard Group

3.0%

Keeley Asset Mgt.

2.8%

Bank of America

2.4%

Prudential

1.9%

Munder Capital Mgt.

1.9%

AXA

1.8%

Total33.4%
  
Norfolk Southern 

Capital Research Global

5.0%

Marsico Capital Mgt.

4.8%

JP Morgan Chase

4.7%

Barclays Global

4.5%

State Street Corp.

3.2%

Vanguard Group

3.1%

 Fidelity Mgt.

 2.7%

Pioneer Investment

1.3%

Dimensional Fund

1.3%

Capital World Invest.

1.1%

Total

31.7%

  

Union Pacific

 

Marsico Capital Mgt.

6.6%

Children’s Invest. Fund

4.7%

Barclays Global

4.4%

Capital World Invest.

3.4%

State Street Corp.

3.2%

Vanguard Group

3.0%

AXA

2.9%

Fidelity Mgt.

2.5%

Bank of America

1.9%

Berkshire Hathaway

1.8%

Total

34.4%

Source: Bloomberg News