Major rail union rejects deal, prompts new strike

Omaha, Nebraska – The third-largest railroad union in the US refused to do business with employers on Monday, renewing the possibility of a strike. paralyze the economy. B. Before that happens, the other sides are back at the negotiating table.

More than half of the track maintenance workers represented by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division voted against the five-year contract despite a 24% raise and a $5,000 bonus. I voted against it. Union president Tony Cardwell said the railroad did not do enough to deal with the lack of paid leave, especially sick days. Working conditions After major rail companies cut nearly a third of jobs over the past six years.

“Railway workers are disheartened and upset about their working conditions and pay and disrespectful of their employers. They are not valued,” Cardwell said in a statement. “They resent management’s lack of consideration for their quality of life, evidenced by their stubborn reluctance to give them more paid leave, especially because of their illness. is.”

A group representing railroad companies in negotiations said they were disappointed the unions had rejected the deal, but stressed that there was no imminent threat of a strike as the unions agreed to continue working for now. .

4 others railway union It has approved agreements with freight railroads including BNSF, Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern, CSX and Norfolk Southern, but all 12 unions representing 115,000 workers must ratify the deal. not. prevent a strikeAnother union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, initially rejected the deal, but then renegotiated new contract. Voting is expected to be completed in mid-November.

President Joe Biden last month put pressure on railroads and unions to reach an agreement ahead of a mid-September deadline to authorize strikes or strikes. Many also called for Congress to be prepared to intervene in the dispute and prevent a strike if no agreement is reached, as many rely on railroads to deliver raw materials and finished goods.

Trade unions generally agree to Recommendation A special panel of arbitrators appointed by Mr. Biden was created this summer. The presidential emergency committee recommended what would be the biggest pay increase seen for railroad workers in more than 40 years, but union concerns about working conditions were not resolved. Instead, the union said it should pursue additional negotiations or arbitration that could take years with each railroad company individually.

The Brotherhood said it had agreed to postpone the strike until five days after Congress reconvened in mid-November to allow time for additional negotiations.

Quality of life issues took center stage at the end of these negotiations, with trade unions representing conductors and engineers sticking through three days of unpaid medical appointment leave a year, and railroads taking advantage of these employees. He promised to negotiate further to provide employees with regularly scheduled time off. Turn off when not on call. Engineers and conductors complain that the strict attendance policy makes it difficult to take time off.

In general, BMWED’s track maintenance workers have more regular schedules than technicians and conductors, but all rail unions, especially after working to keep trains running during the pandemic, are getting paid more in the industry. I am against the lack of sick time.

Professor Todd Vachon, who teaches an industrial relations class at Rutgers University, said that given how daring union members feel to fight for better working conditions amid the current labor shortage, the contract is likely to continue. He said he was not at all surprised by the refusal.

“The biggest issue is quality of life, especially access to paid vacation and paid sick leave. “Wages and resource allocation are one important part of contract negotiations, but feeling respected by employers can help workers form a union,” Vachon said. It’s one of the biggest reasons I attend.”

A strike is now possible, but Vachon said he’s not too worried yet, as the two sides have more than a month to reach a new agreement.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/politics/2022/10/10/large-rail-union-rejects-deal-renewing-strike-possibility/ Major rail union rejects deal, prompts new strike

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