To TD members covered by national handling:

Since the announcement of the tentative agreement (TA) yesterday morning, a number of posts purporting to reveal the finalized contents or finalized components of the TA have spread rapidly and are being presented as factual.

They are not.

Anyone who states that they have seen a final copy of the TA, have a copy of the final TA or knows the final contents of the agreement is not being truthful. The final documents have not been fully reviewed by both parties’ legal counsel as is required before it can be presented to the SMART-TD District 1 General Chairpersons, nor has it been distributed to officers or membership.

Per the SMART Constitution, the TA’s language, when finalized, will first be released to General Chairpersons engaged in national handling for their review. This is anticipated to happen as soon as sometime next week.

Once the proper steps with our SMART-TD District 1 General Chairpersons have occurred, factual information will be released on the union website for members for them to evaluate and to carefully consider the tentative agreement.

In the meantime, please do not draw conclusions on the information concerning this agreement from what is being circulated on social media until such time that it comes from our official sites.

We thank you for and appreciate your patience.

— SMART Transportation Division

Jeremy Ferguson, President, SMART Transportation Division and Dennis Pierce, President, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Teamsters Rail Conference, on move announced by the nation’s largest railroads to further abuse shippers and gridlock the supply chain in order to extort a contract settlement from rail unions:

CLEVELAND — Late on Friday, September 9, the nation’s largest railroads began warning major shippers that they are declaring an embargo on certain types of new shipments five days in advance of the end of the federally mandated cooling-off period at 12:00 AM EDT September 16. They further advised that all rail shippers could be blocked from making any rail shipments well in advance of next Friday’s deadline for a lockout or strike. This completely unnecessary attack on rail shippers by these highly profitable Class I railroads is no more than corporate extortion.

Our Unions remain at the bargaining table and have given the rail carriers a proposal that we would be willing to submit to our members for ratification, but it is the rail carriers that refuse to reach an acceptable agreement. In fact, it was abundantly clear from our negotiations over the past few days that the railroads show no intentions of reaching an agreement with our Unions, but they cannot legally lock out our members until the end of the cooling-off period. Instead, they are locking out their customers beginning on Monday and further harming the supply chain in an effort to provoke congressional action.

The railroads are using shippers, consumers, and the supply chain of our nation as pawns in an effort to get our Unions to cave into their contract demands knowing that our members would never accept them. Our Unions will not cave into these scare tactics, and Congress must not cave into what can only be described as corporate terrorism.

Rather than gridlock the supply chain by denying shipments and potentially locking our members out next Friday, the railroads should work towards a fair settlement that our members, their employees, would ratify. For that to happen, we must make improvements to the working conditions that have been on the bargaining table since negotiations began. Penalizing engineers and conductors for getting sick or going to a doctor’s visit with termination must be stopped as part of this contract settlement. Let us repeat that, our members are being terminated for getting sick or for attending routine medical visits as we crawl our way out of a worldwide pandemic.

No working-class American should be treated with this level of harassment in the workplace for simply becoming ill or going to a routine medical visit. Sadly, the Presidential Emergency Board recommendation got it wrong on this issue. As we have said from the day that they were implemented, these policies are destroying the lives of our members, who are the backbone of the railroad industry.

These employment policies have forced thousands of employees out of the industry and make it all but impossible to recruit new workers. With understaffed operations, these railroads abuse their best customers by refusing to provide deliveries consistent with their legal obligations. These self-appointed titans of industry complain constantly about government regulation and interference — except now when it comes to breaking the backs of their employees. It’s time for the federal government to tell the CEO’s who are running the nation’s railroads into the ground that enough is enough. Congress should stay out of the rail dispute and tell the railroads to do what other business leaders do — sit down and bargain a contract that your employees will accept.

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The SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members of the former United Transportation Union, who work in a variety of crafts in the transportation industry.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen represents nearly 57,000 professional locomotive engineers and trainmen throughout the United States. The BLET is the founding member of the Rail Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

ATTENTION ALL FREIGHT RAIL MEMBERS:

The SMART Transportation Division wants to hear your feedback about PEB 250’s recommendations, and our ongoing national contract dispute! This is a pivotal time in our history, and your feedback is invaluable to helping your negotiating team determine our next steps. Polling will continue to be conducted via our usual web-based service, and links will soon be sent out to all our affected members.

But in order to ensure that you will have the opportunity to participate, you must verify your SMART-TD membership by creating an account on our SMART-TD Member Portal.

For those members who already have an account, please log in and make sure we have your most up-to-date contact information, including a valid email address.

In addition to the above, we also recommend that you download the SMART Mobile App, which can be found on the Apple iPhone and Google Play stores by searching for “SMART Union” or texting the word APP to 67336 (message and data rates may apply). Additional details are available on this web page.

Meanwhile, your negotiating team is continuing to engage with the nation’s railroads, and we remain committed to our efforts to reach a voluntary agreement that is worthy of your consideration in a formal ratification vote.

We sincerely thank those of you who have already written or called in to share your thoughts, and we thank all of our members for your ongoing dedication and support.

The following is a statement from SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson and BLET President Dennis Pierce.

CLEVELAND, (September 2) — As we approach Labor Day 2022, our Unions stand at a crossroads. While our normal messages heading into one of the most important days for Organized Labor would be about Labor’s proud history of improving the lives of working-class Americans, we are embroiled in the ongoing effort to obtain a National Freight Agreement worthy of our members’ consideration.

We know there are vastly different opinions amongst our collective memberships on what should happen next, and the democratic principles that drive our Unions give each member the right to their own opinion. Although current opinions may vary, there are other things that apply equally to us all.

It has become clear in our post-Presidential Emergency Board (“PEB”) negotiations with the rail carriers that they are counting on the Federal Government to come to their aid if we are unable to reach a Tentative Agreement, and so far, we have not reached an Agreement. The same rail carriers that complain about government intervention when the Federal Railroad Administration proposes a rulemaking on crew size, and also shudder at the thought of the Surface Transportation Board issuing regulations that would help shippers, now all but hide behind Congress, refusing so far to negotiate terms our members would accept and ratify. While there are no guarantees for either side as to what Congress might do if they are involved, there is no doubt that the rail carriers expect Congress to intervene to save them from dealing fairly with their employees if there is a job action; Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz so much as publicly said that earlier in the week.

It is also clear that SMART-TD and BLET have been carved out from the rest of Rail Labor as we were the only Unions that the carriers insisted upon work rule changes from throughout the PEB hearing. Our Unions’ members have also borne the brunt of inept crew management, life-changing attendance policies, and working conditions over the past years that are making it all but impossible for rail carriers to hire and retain operating employees. As such, SMART-TD and BLET members are situated differently at this stage of the negotiations than the members of most of the other Rail Unions.

Knowing that, we should not fault the Unions who have decided to allow their members the right to decide their own fate through a ratification vote. As we reach the end of the Railway Labor Act negotiating process, all of our contracts will soon be settled, one way or the other. Allowing the membership to decide how that happens is at the very core of the labor movement, and our Unions will not interfere in the decision by other Rail Unions to vote upon a Tentative Agreement based upon the PEB’s recommendations.

Instead, we will continue to concentrate our efforts on obtaining Tentative Agreements for our members that are worthy of their consideration. Our goal is to reach an agreement that could be ratified because SMART-TD and BLET members also have the right to control their own futures through the democratic principles that give them the right to vote on and approve contracts.

One thing is now certain, obtaining such an agreement would be much more likely if Congress took a long Labor Day break and allowed the parties to work out their issues without intervention from the Federal Government. While we know that many SMART-TD and BLET members would like to strike their carriers for any number of reasons, it should not take a job action to reach an agreement worthy of their consideration. We call on Congress to stay out of our dispute, and if you do, we are confident that the rail carriers will move from their current positions and settle with their employees in a fashion that could be ratified.

Wishing you all a safe and healthy Labor Day,

President Jeremy Ferguson, SMART-TD

President Dennis Pierce, BLET

Brothers and Sisters of our unions:

Presidential Emergency Board (“PEB” or “the Board”) 250 conducted hearings in Washington, D.C. this past week, concluding on July 28th. We both were honored to represent our unions and, by extension, the memberships of the dozen strong United Rail Unions as we presented and testified in support of our unified case to the PEB. We are sharing this joint message to ensure that our members are up to date on all of the bargaining round issues.

For the first time in history, the 12 United Rail Unions, representing 115,000 members in every craft in the industry, presented a unified case on wages, healthcare, sick leave and holidays to the Board. Also for the first time in history, SMART-TD and BLET presidents made joint presentations on our unions’ proposals to eliminate carrier-imposed attendance policies, provide for voluntary rest days for road crews, and to increase away-from-home terminal meal allowances. In addition, BLET Director of Benefits Dan Cook, who also serves as the Cooperating Railway Labor Organizations’ administrator, testified in support of the United Rail Unions’ unified Health and Welfare proposal and SMART-TD VP Brent Leonard testified in opposition to the crew consist issues that the carriers attempted to improperly raise in this proceeding.

At the conclusion of the first day of hearings on July 24, and in an effort to keep our memberships current on the status of the bargaining round, the United Rail Unions released summaries of our final proposals before the Board, as well as the carriers’ final proposals. Those proposals are still available on our union websites. We encourage all members to take the time to review them, and more importantly, realize just how far apart the two sides remain after more than two and a half years of negotiations.

As has been said since an update from the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition in January 2021 and in every update from rail labor since, it is also important to remember who is responsible for the absence of an acceptable National Rail Contract settlement. By reviewing the carriers’ final proposal presented before the PEB, it remains all too evident that they continue to refuse to make a realistic and worthy proposal that our voting members would ratify. That is why our contract dispute has reached a PEB, one of the final steps under the Railway Labor Act.

Regarding the unions’ final presentation before the PEB, it’s important to see how the union leadership arrived at their final proposal. Both parties served Section 6 notices in this round of bargaining at the start of negotiations in late 2019. Those notices are a mandatory starting point in the bargaining process, and generally include every item on which each individual union seeks to negotiate. As the parties negotiate, each side’s list of issues is prioritized to ensure that the most important ones are addressed in the ultimate contract settlement.

This bargaining round was no different. Based on membership feedback, several items were initially identified early on as key priorities including, increasing wages, rejecting concessions on healthcare, addressing unreasonable attendance policies and paid sick leave, and establishing predictable time away from work. The need for paid sick leave without penalty became even more evident with the pandemic and the manpower shortages caused by carriers’ continued mismanagement.

Leadership of the SMART-TD and BLET collaborated on presenting our craft-specific issues throughout negotiations and collaborated with our entire bargaining coalition on our shared issues. But, as is now obvious, the carriers refused to engage in meaningful bargaining on our most important issues. Multiple proposals were exchanged over these last two and a half years, including varying wage proposals, all in an effort to come to a voluntary agreement worthy of ratification by the membership.

Nowhere else was the distance between the sides more evident than in the discussion of wages. Contracts of both five- and six-year durations were proposed and discussed, driving differing values for the wage package. Our last unified wage proposal as we were released from mediation in June contained a six-year proposal with wage increases occurring July 1st of each year totaling 40%, with 36% of that payable in the first five years. In contrast, in January of 2022, the carriers’ proposed wage increase totaling 11% and their last proposal as we were released from mediation was a five-year proposal with wage increases occurring on July 1st of each year totaling 14%.

With a gap that wide, it was no surprise that voluntary efforts, as well as mandatory government-sponsored mediation, failed to reach an agreement. Once the parties were released from mediation, the United Rail Unions immediately began work preparing their final unified proposal to be presented to the PEB. That process included union leaders, the unions’ collective legal counsel, health care experts, and an expert economist. In the end, the unions agreed to present the summarized proposal shared with our memberships on July 24 at the close of the first day of hearings.

Before we get into the wage proposal numbers, it is important to understand the status of our negotiations as we went before the PEB. The PEB is not the start of negotiations. As explained above, the start of the negotiations happened when our lengthy Section 6 notices were served in 2019. Further, the PEB hearing is not a negotiation; it is an opportunity for both sides to present their final proposals, which must be supported with extensive economic data through live testimony. In this case, the hearing spanned five days, where both parties made presentations by expert witnesses to support their proposals. 

In crafting the unions’ final wage proposal, and knowing that those proposals had to be supported by our expert economist, an in-depth analysis was conducted — taking into account long-term wage growth, past and present, as well as increases in the cost of living for the years covered by the agreement. Consideration also had to be given to the financial value of the other non-wage proposals going before the PEB as part of crafting a final proposal that we believe the Board would recommend.

In the period between the close of NMB mediation in June and the PEB hearings in July, and after consultation with the unions’ economic expert, the unions determined that the wage proposal that could be best supported by our economic data was a final, unified proposal totaling a 28% gross wage increase (GWI), uncompounded, over five years. While some saw that move from our previous position of 36% over five years as too big, it is not certain that they understood the proposal’s other terms.

One other component of our final proposal was to move from the July 1 annual wage increase dates in our 36% proposal, to annual January 1 wage increases. The effect of this change is fairly simple math — paying each raise six months sooner doubles the value of each wage increase in the year it is applied.  In fact, on a base salary of $100,000, advancing the GWI schedule by six months each year generates additional compensation of over $15,000 during the term of the agreement as compared to July 1 annual increases. For someone with a base salary of $75,000, the advancement generates additional compensation of over $11,000 during the term of the Agreement — vastly reducing the financial gap between the 28% and prior 36% proposals. On the same base salaries, the unified proposal with the earlier effective dates would also generate in excess of $20,000 and $16,000, respectively, in back pay for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022. 

While we do not agree that it should impact the PEB decision, the history of wage increases in our National Agreements was part of the carriers’ presentation in opposition to not only our proposed wage increase values, but also against the earlier annual increase dates. That history is straightforward; no National Agreement in the past 45 years has included GWIs totaling over 18% for a five-year period. Regardless of that history, our economist clearly laid out the economic support for the 28% wage proposal presented to the PEB. 

Our health and welfare experts also made the case that no additional health and welfare costs should be pushed onto employees. We made the case for needed sick days and additional holidays for all involved Unions. We made a joint case for eliminating all non-negotiated attendance policies, allowing General Committees to serve notice to compel on-property bargaining for voluntary rest days, and improvements to our held away meal allowances.

All in all, the United Rail Unions made a sound, reasonable case before the PEB.  We must thank our team’s legal counsel, health care experts, expert economist and all of the witnesses who gave testimony on behalf of our United Rail Unions. In the coming weeks, we will receive the PEB’s recommendations for settlement of our dispute and then consider them.

While it was not possible, we also wish every member of every union could have attended the hearings before PEB 250 and to have had a chance to testify on their own behalf about the conditions, the struggles, and the situations that carriers have created for the people whose work brings them profit. Through their actions, and in the case of these drawn-out negotiations, their inaction, the carriers’ cavalier and pay-no-heed attitude toward our brothers and sisters who did the work through a pandemic, through job cuts and through an ongoing supply chain crisis could not be clearer. They do not care to either understand or respect their employees. Some of their assertions, such as how happy their employees are, were beyond belief — even to those of us that have heard their spin before. We refuted them all.

Following the recommendations of the PEB, the parties have another 30-day cooling off period to consider the recommendations and reach an agreement. If the carriers continue to refuse to make a ratifiable proposal, very critical decisions will have to be made during that period. As has been said time and again, do not listen to the carrier moles and trolls that attempt to blame this situation on the employees or their Unions. They are only attempting to divide us as we close in on the final months of this round of bargaining. Among our unions, our solidarity is our strength. Please do not allow those attempting to divide us to succeed.

In solidarity,

President Jeremy Ferguson

SMART Transportation Division

President Dennis Pierce,

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson released the following statement on July 22, 2022, regarding the commencement of the Presidential Emergency Board:

Brothers and Sisters —

At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 24, 2022, Presidential Emergency Board 250 will convene in Washington, D.C. and proceed through Friday, July 29th, as the next step in the Railway Labor Act process.

We anticipate a fair and thorough series of hearings before the board, which consists of three qualified members. SMART-TD and the other rail labor organizations are prepared to present our best case to get a contract workers can be proud of after serving the nation through a pandemic and a supply-chain crisis. Carriers have enjoyed record and increasing profits through the hard work of unionized labor. This PEB gives us an opportunity to show the evidence that our toil should be rewarded.

Out of mutual respect for the process taking place, there will be no updates on the hearings, which will consist of daily sessions lasting anywhere from 10 to 12 hours, from either labor or the carriers once they begin. Until labor and the carriers have made their cases, SMART-TD will respect the authority of the PEB and comments will be reserved until after the PEB has released its recommendations.

That being said, the continued outreach and show of solidarity by not only SMART-TD members, but all of rail labor continues to fuel and motivate labor leaders through this arduous process. The silence need not extend to you. Any and all support is encouraged, seen and appreciated whether from rail workers, other branches of organized labor or from the public. Rail labor earlier this week received a letter of support from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in which President Willie Adams and Vice President Bobby Olvera Jr. pledged solidarity to our organizations. We thank them for voicing their support and express our highest gratitude to our ILWU brothers and sisters.

Let’s continue the momentum as we move ahead!

In solidarity,

Jeremy R. Ferguson

President, SMART Transportation Division

WASHINGTON – Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO, of which the SMART Transportation Division (SMART-TD) and SMART Mechanical Divisions (SMART-MD) are members, released the following statement in response to President Joe Biden’s Executive Order establishing a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), which will delay any freight rail work stoppage or strike for 60 days upon taking effect Monday, July 18th. TTD is the nation’s largest transportation labor federation and represents 37 labor unions, including the 13 rail worker unions involved in the ongoing national contract negotiations:

“We commend President Biden for announcing a board of neutral arbitrators to investigate and report its findings and recommendations to help both parties work toward a resolution.

“After nearly three years of bad faith negotiations by the railroads, it is sad but not surprising that we arrived at this point in the bargaining process governed by the Railway Labor Act.

“Our goal from the beginning of this process has been to deliver a contract that freight rail workers could ratify, particularly as the railroads are raking in their highest-ever profits as workloads and work hours have increased exponentially. Throughout this process, the railroads have never made a contract proposal that these workers could reasonably accept.

“Just as they have failed in their responsibility to provide reasonable freight service for their customers and the American people, the railroads have also failed in their responsibility to their workers in their greedy quest to become modern-day robber barons.

“The reality is that these frontline workers are pandemic heroes who move essential cargo and goods through the supply chain, yet they have not received a pay raise in three years and are risking their personal health and safety every day on the job.

“The time has come for the nation’s railroads to be held accountable for their actions, and reconcile the long-term effects of their greed. The seven Class I railroads have raked in $146 billion in profits since 2015 while cutting 45,000 jobs in the same period.

“Quite simply, the facts are on our side and we look forward to the forthcoming recommendations of the presidentially-appointed arbitrators.”

In a joint statement in response to the Executive Order, the 13 rail unions stated: ‘The Rail Unions remain united in their efforts, and are now working together in preparation of a unified case representing the best interests of all rail employees before the Presidential Emergency Board. Our unified case will clearly show that the Unions’ proposals are supported by current economic data and are more than warranted when compared to our memberships’ contribution to the record profits of the rail carriers.‘ “

Background:

Upon the formation of the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), the Railway Labor Act (RLA) imposes a 30-day status quo period during which the Board will receive written submissions and hold hearings, and the parties are not permitted to exercise self-help. The Board would be required to issue its report within 30 days of its appointment. Once the Board issues its report, the RLA mandates another 30-day cooling off period as the unions and the carriers attempt to negotiate an agreement based on the PEB’s recommendations. If no agreement is reached at the end of that last 30-day period, then all restrictions on self-help are removed. Therefore, under the RLA, if a PEB is created and no agreement is reached based on its recommendations, the parties could exercise self-help in mid-September. Congress could take action at this point and mandate the Board’s recommendations or extend the cooling-off period.

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The 13 unions involved in the national rail labor contract negotiations are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED); 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 and Mechanical Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD and SMART-MD, respectively).

Collectively, these Unions represent approximately 140,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise 100% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations. 

An open letter from the office of SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Earlier today, I advised our Rail General Chairpersons involved in national bargaining that the cooling-off period after our release by the NMB will be ending Monday, July 18, at 12:01 a.m., and if a Presidential Emergency Board is not appointed by then, there will be the opportunity to engage in self-help. A copy of that letter can be found here.

According to the governing provisions of the SMART Constitution, a strike action over a national contract dispute must first be approved by a two-thirds vote of the affected General Chairpersons. This method, which has been carefully written and democratically required by our delegates, provides a quick and effective way to obtain strike authority from our members. As noted in my letter, our General Committees have so far shown unanimous support for exercising our right to legally strike, if and when the opportunity presents itself. This result does not come as a surprise, given the railroads’ abysmal treatment of our members over the last 2+ years, and their ongoing refusal to make any move toward a contract that is even remotely worthy of your consideration in a ratification vote.

As noted in my letter to our General Chairpersons, this approval does not automatically constitute authorization to engage in a strike. Final authorization will come in a separate notice from this office, and will be widely distributed using every communication tool available to us. The earliest this office could issue that notice could be on or after 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 18, 2022. However, if President Biden establishes a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) prior to this date, which is generally expected under these circumstances, no strike authorization can be issued during the PEB process.

With that being said, preparation for the possibility of a strike is well under way. We will soon be distributing materials to all affected SMART-TD Locals, which will include explicit detailed instructions. We will also be electronically distributing picketing materials so our members may choose which signs they want to display. This method of distribution provides the added benefit of avoiding any potential delays that might result from mass printing and mailing these materials from a central location.

Your national negotiating team is more determined than ever to obtain a contract that provides the fair compensation, meaningful improvements in quality of life, and better healthcare that we rightfully expect and deserve. To the carriers and their media pundits who are trying to cast us in a negative light: Your bogus rhetoric might resonate with the hedge fund managers, Wall Street investors, and billionaire cronies you cater to, but the hard-working people who earn you your all-time record-breaking profits aren’t buying it. Make no mistake, we are prepared and willing to exercise every legal option available under the Railway Labor Act to achieve our goals.

Fraternally,

Jeremy R. Ferguson
President, Transportation Division

The United Rail Unions issued the following statement on June 15, 2022:

Following the conclusion of our third week of compulsory mediation conducted by the National Mediation Board (NMB), the rail unions who are bargaining as part of the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way/SMART Mechanical Coalition pursuant to Section 5 First of the Railway Labor Act, received a proffer of arbitration from the NMB.

As previously stated, all of the carriers’ proposals to date serve as an insult to our collective membership. These essential employees carried the railroads to their record profits throughout the last several years. As much as the rail unions would have preferred to reach a voluntary settlement, this has become the only viable path to reaching a satisfactory conclusion. The chiefs of all 12 rail unions wish to thank the NMB members and the assigned mediators for their efforts in trying to bring us to a voluntary agreement, and for their recognition that such an agreement was not possible under the current circumstances.

With regard to the proffer of arbitration, the NMB urged the parties to enter into an agreement to resolve the dispute via binding arbitration in accordance with Section 8 of the Railway Labor Act. If either party rejects the NMB’s proffer, or fails to respond prior to the deadline of 5 p.m. (EDT) on June 16, 2022, the parties will enter a 30-day “cooling-off” period where the status quo is maintained. While each rail union has its own process for considering whether or not to accept the NMB’s proffer, it is anticipated that we will unanimously reject it in the coming days. 

At any point during the aforementioned 30-day cooling off period, President Biden may appoint a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), which typically consists of three to five members. The PEB will conduct a hearing and issue a recommendation regarding settlement of the dispute. The issuance of the PEB recommendation starts another 30-day cooling-off period.

During this second cooling-off period, the parties may choose to accept or reject the PEB’s recommendation. If either party rejects the PEB’s recommendation, or if the cooling-off period expires and the dispute has not been resolved, either party may engage in self-help.

If this happens, it is expected that Congress will intervene and end self-help by passing legislation to resolve the dispute. To address this possibility, we have already mobilized our legislative departments to get the message to our elected representatives. In addition to these efforts, we are urging our members to begin reaching out to their U.S. senators and House representatives to voice their support for a labor-friendly PEB, and, if necessary, labor-friendly legislation to bring this round of bargaining to a successful conclusion. The time to make our collective voices heard is now!

Additional information will be provided as developments warrant. We appreciate your continuing support.

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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).

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division and SMART Mechanical Unions are also bargaining as a coalition.

Collectively, these Unions represent approximately 140,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise 100% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.

Read this release in PDF form.

The United Rail Unions issued the following statement June 9, 2022:

The rail unions who are bargaining as part of the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way/SMART Mechanical Coalition concluded their third week of compulsory joint National Mediation Board-mediated negotiations with the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) yesterday.

These joint mediated negotiations, under the direction of the NMB board members themselves, resulted from the unions’ request to be released from mediation after more than two years of bargaining with the major U.S. Class I railroads.

The rail unions remain united in their effort to negotiate a fair agreement and stand together in rejecting all proposals that the rail carriers have advanced in our mediation sessions. Our members are the backbone of the rail network and they have earned a contract that recognizes their contributions. None of the carrier proposals to date come close to that; instead the carriers continue to advance proposals that insult the very employees that made their record profits possible.

Enough is enough, the only pathway to resolving this dispute is for the NMB to put forth a proffer of arbitration to move the dispute to the final steps of the Railway Labor Act.

Additional information will be provided as developments warrant. We appreciate your continuing support.

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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).

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division and SMART Mechanical Unions are also bargaining as a coalition.

Collectively, these unions represent approximately 140,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise 100% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.

This release is available in PDF form.