LIRR negotiations heating up

Engineers reject management's latest contract proposal

Locomotive engineers on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), the largest commuter railroad in the United States, have overwhelmingly rejected management's latest contract proposal.

According to Bob Evers of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), the contract proposal is based on a previous agreement reached between management and its shop craft and clerical workers. But that contract does not address issues that are unique to locomotive engineers, Brother Evers said.

Evers, who is General Chairman of the LIRR engineers, also said management has refused to negotiate an hourly wage increase for engineers who operate new equipment, even though a similar increase was granted to track workers who belong to another union.

Finally, Evers said that part of management's proposal seeks to penalize union members who suffer on-the-job injuries and use sick days by forcing them to pay a financial penalty for losing time from work.

"Management's refusal to negotiate and its proposed behavioral modification policies have created a hostile work environment that deprives locomotive engineers of their dignity and respect in the work place," Evers said.

The BLET and management have entered into mediation and continued the negotiating process at meetings on December 7 and 8.

The LIRR locomotive engineers have worked without a contract for almost two years, Brother Evers noted.



© 2004 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen