Notice of hiring: Keolis Posting for assistant conductors in Boston.
Keolis Commuter Service, a SMART TD represented property, is currently accepting applications for assistant conductors in Boston. Preference is being given to those with prior railroad operating experience, class 1 conductor certification, and with qualifications on current NORAC rules. Posting dates currently extend to August 20, 2015.
For more information on how to apply, go to www.keoliscs.com/careers. Go to the bottom of the page and click on the “Keolis Commuter Services Job Opening” link.
Officials from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Keolis Commuter Services, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and four labor unions signed an agreement May 8 that would implement a federal close-call reporting system designed to improve safety.
The FRA’s Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) allows any employee to anonymously report safety-related issues or concerns without fear of facing sanctions. The C3RS program is the first of its kind in Massachusetts.
At a ceremony held at Keolis’ Boston headquarters, officials from the American Train Dispatchers Association, Transportation Communications Union, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and SMART Transportation Division joined MBTA, Keolis and FRA representatives to sign the memorandum of understanding to implement the voluntary reporting system.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s board of directors today unanimously voted to accept the T’s recommendation that Keolis, a French rail company, take over operation of the state’s commuter rail system, winning the state’s largest operating contract in history.
MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott recommended Keolis as the winning bidder, after the board listened to roughly two hours of public comments.
Members of the SMART Transportation Division employed by Keolis Rail Services ratified a new three-year agreement June 7 to continue service on the Virginia Railway Express trains operating between Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Of the ballots returned, 78 percent were in favor of the new pact.
On VRE, the SMART TD represents conductors, assistant conductors and a new class of employees termed ACE, which is a designation applied to conductors or assistant conductors who volunteer to be trained and qualified as locomotive engineers.
The new agreement calls for annual pay increases of 2.5 percent, with the first wage increase to be applied July 1, 2013. It also pays per-trip compensation for required conductor certification. The payment will apply to all certified conductors working in either a conductor or assistant conductor position and the payment will double June 15, 2015.
“When coupled with the increases already received from the date of the last contract, the wage increases will meet the industry standard of nearly 15 percent over five years,” said Amtrak GO 769 General Chairperson Dirk Sampson, who served as leader of the SMART TD’s negotiating team.
In addition, employees covered under the agreement will receive a $1,000 signing bonus on or after June 15, 2013.
On the effective date, employees’ contributions to health care premiums will be $180 per month, with a cap of $198 per month over the life of the agreement.
“Overall, the negotiating team believes the agreement meets industry standards. The percentages are comparable to other properties, the signing bonus and certification pay are generous, and the ACE compensation is a significant benefit to those who wish to be trained as an engineer,” Sampson said.
The negotiating team consisted of Sampson, District of Columbia State Legislative Director and Local 1933 Chairperson Willie Bates and Local 1933 Vice Chairperson Lamar Bates.
“The negotiating team is to be commended for doing an excellent job of bringing the needs and desires of the membership to the negotiating table,” said SMART TD Assistant President John Previsich, who assisted with the negotiations. “With their input, numerous agreement issues were resolved along with the compensation package, resulting in an agreement that meets or exceeds industry standards in every respect,” Previsich said.
Keolis Rail Services took over operation of VRE commuter trains from Amtrak July 12, 2010, after VRE signed a five-year, $85-million contract with the rail services manager in 2009.
Conductors and assistant conductors were protected under an agreement negotiated July 9, 2010, by the UTU President’s Department.
At that time, according to news reports, all but one Amtrak employee working VRE trains chose to remain with Amtrak, forcing Keolis to hire and train new conductors, assistant conductors and engineers for the VRE operation. Keolis said then that the new conductors were veterans of freight and other rail passenger operations in the U.S.
VRE was Keolis’ first venture into U.S. rail contract operations, although the company transports some two billion bus and rail passengers annually in 13 countries, mostly in Europe. According to trusted sources, the company is seeking to expand its U.S. operations and is an active participant in bidding for other services.