The general wage increases have not changed since the Carriers’ previous proposal in April, still at 11% over the 5 year term of the agreement. What did change was the proposed employee contribution amount, which you will see the railroads have almost cut in half from April. However, with their stance of not allowing back pay and a retroactive increase of employee contribution, we would effectively be paying back pay if we were to agree to the current proposal.
The real devil in the details lies in the proposed work rule changes:
First, for the other trade unions within our bargaining group (BRS/NCFO/IBB), the Carriers would like to eliminate the requirement to use their own employees to perform track, signal, or building projects and instead be allowed to contract out as much work as possible; they are asking our brothers and sisters to agree to eliminate their own jobs! They then are attempting to blur the lines between crafts by proposing any worker may perform any job associated with the task they are performing, whether the work should be a signalman, fireman, or a welder; a true showing of their dedication to “safety”.
Second, they put the operating crafts in their focus. The proposal begins with their desire to eliminate our ability to make seniority moves by fully automating job selection and placement. Their next request is to eliminate the guaranteed engineers extra board by implementing self-supporting pools, where your turn would remain in place if you lay off and the next available turn would be called. Additionally, the proposal calls for a change in the regulation of these pools from the long-standing mileage to using starts.
Within their proposal there is also a desire to change the negotiating process to move to “an expedited and compressed negotiating schedule followed by mandatory, final and binding arbitration…” Furthermore, this proposal suggests that the arbitrator’s jurisdiction would be limited to only the changes identified within only the carriers Section 6 notice, and only “an award that does not create additional cost for the carrier.”
Finally, the NCCC proposes a change to Article IX of the National Agreement which would allow any carrier to make any operational change they wish for a 6-month “test period”. This again is in violation of the dispute resolution process outlined in the Railway Labor Act, and evident of the way the carriers respect our agreements.
There are upcoming mediation meetings scheduled; however, these unrealistic and disrespectful proposals and their complete unwillingness to bargain with good faith shows the true feelings of the carriers towards their employees.