The AFL-CIO has once again acted in support of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, this time in strongly urging the National Mediation Board to dismiss the UTU's motion for reconsideration in the Union Pacific case.

Using its strongest language yet, the AFL-CIO said the NMB would "seriously impair (its) credibility and impartiality" if it granted UTU's motion.

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The Power of Many
A coalition of eight railroad labor unions have joined forces in Pocatello, Idaho, to battle relentless harassment from management of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Carriers turn down compromise Railroad Retirement proposal
A compromise proposal by Representative Jim Oberstar (D-MN) to resolve the impasse over changes to the railroad retirement system was rejected in late March by Ed Hamberger, President of the American Association of Railroads.

BLE member angry over current Railroad Retirement deal
As almost everyone knows, this is our money that has been part of our compensation packages over the last two decades. To me, it sounds unethical that this money was always mentioned as our compensation. It has been used as leverage against us for getting substandard pay increases. Now, it seems as though it is being leveraged against us again. They have been taking this money away from us for two decades up front and now, want to take it away from us on the back end.

Social Security changes to benefit railroad retirees
On April 7, President Clinton signed into law the elimination of the earnings cap for Social Security, and, in doing so, also eliminated the earnings cap for recipients of Railroad Retirement who are between the ages of 65-69. By law, the Railroad Retirement Board applies the Social Security Act earnings restrictions to railroad retirement annuities, in addition to certain other work restrictions specified by the Railroad Retirement Act that are not changed by this legislation.

The "cram down" breakdown
Talks between the AFL-CIO affiliated rail unions and the National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC) to end the practice known as "cram down" collapsed during the last week of March. To understand why the negotiations failed, as well as what the future holds, it is important to know how "cram down" came to be, and how an agreement recently reached by the United Transportation Union (UTU) actually made "cram down" worse.

The Tex Mex saga
Why the UTU fought to eliminate craft lines on Laredo shortline

BLE scores second major victory for post-85 workers
A tentative contract agreement between the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Grand Trunk Western will give locomotive engineers a fully retroactive 12 percent pay hike and eliminate substandard deadhead pay for post-85 workers.

Wisconsin two-person crew bill awaiting governor's OK
A two-person crew bill was approved by the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate on March 19, and is now awaiting the signature of Governor Tommy Thompson.

Tornado hits BLE General Committee office in Fort Worth
The month of March went out like a lion for members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers in Fort Worth, Texas.

Secretary-Treasurers get hands-on training in Cleveland
Seven BLE members participated in a hands-on workshop for Secretary-Treasurers in Cleveland earlier this month.

Statement by John J. Sweeney on UTU disaffiliation from AFL-CIO
"The leadership of this union has attempted to destroy another AFL-CIO union's bargaining rights at Union Pacific and take away members from that union -- a direct violation of the AFL-CIO constitution. They have had every opportunity to abide by the decisions of the AFL-CIO arbitrators who, according to our constitution, resolve differences on membership issues among unions. The UTU's leadership petition was also dismissed by the National Mediation Board (NMB)."

Two-person crew bill gets vetoed by Wyoming governor
The BLE encourages all members in the State of Wyoming to contact Governor Geringer, a Republican, to voice their displeasure with his veto of this much-needed safety legislation.

Injunction against Springfield Terminal upheld by First Circuit
The First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's determination that Springfield Terminal Railway Company (ST) violated the Railway Labor Act by transferring switching work to Aroostook and Bangor Resources, Inc. (ABR), with whom ST shared common ownership.

Why we blow whistles
A locomotive engineer's first-hand account of a highway-rail grade crossing collision.

Crew watches in 'helpless horror'
Three students killed in school bus-train collision; NTSB investigates bus driver

FRA gathers data on locomotive horn regulations
Federal Railroad Administrator Jolene M. Molitoris announced on April 3 a series of public hearings were held on proposed rulemaking and draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) concerning the use of locomotive train horns at highway-rail grade crossings.

Legislative Update: DC Feedback
"Did President Clinton sign into law that whistle blowers, who report unsafe acts that are sanctioned by the railroad and its officials, can not be fired or disciplined?" The statute you refer to is found in U.S. Code Title 49 Section 20109.

Hazmat safety plan
George Meany Center offers free training course to railroaders

BLE Senior Report: RRB sets minimum customer service standards
The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board's Customer Service Plan promotes the principles and objectives of customer-driven quality service agency-wide. The Board's plan states specifically the level of service that customers can expect, and an important part of the plan is a pledge to keep beneficiaries informed of how well the Board is meeting the plan's standards. The plan is reviewed and updated periodically as the Board gains more experience with it, compares its service with the best in business and considers feedback received from its customers.

Railroad Retirement informational conferences for 2000
The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board will conduct free informational conferences this year. On-site registration begins at 8 a.m. for each conference. All sessions begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. and end at 12:15 p.m.

STB puts the brakes on BNSF-CN merger
Following four days of hearings, the Surface Transportation Board announced on March 17 that it was placing a 15-month moratorium on all rail mergers, effectively halting the proposed Burlington Northern Santa Fe-Canadian National combination for more than a year.

Management shake-up at CSX; Conway out, Snow in
Bedeviled by rising customer frustration and falling stock prices, Ronald J. Conway was ousted on April 11 after only nine months as president of CSX , the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

BNSF fined $10 million for falsifying evidence; ruling overturned
A judge who fined Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. $10 million for presenting what he called "false, concocted" evidence in a wrongful death trial threw out the penalty and removed himself from the case on March 26, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Teamster strike going strong in 26th week
Contract negotiations between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Overnite Transportation resumed on April 4, 5 and 6, making it a very busy month for the Teamsters. The unfair labor practices strike is entering its 26th week and is still going strong.

Industry, labor news briefs

  • Purdy can publish numbers, not names, regarding BNSF salaries
  • Amtrak derailment injures 29
  • Working women seek balance of work, family, AFL-CIO says
  • How much does your railroad's CEO get paid?
  •  

    Volume 14 - Number 4
    April 2000

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