Filed Under: Business

Second railroad union rejects deal, further elevating strike fears

By ,

A second railroad union, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS), rejected its deal with the major U.S. freight railroads. The union announced Wednesday nearly 61% of the workers who voted opposed the five-year contract, even though it included 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses.

Union President Michael Baldwin cited the “lack of good-faith bargaining” by the railroad. Baldwin added the recommendations of a board of arbitrators that President Joe Biden appointed this summer denied workers the “basic right of paid time off for illness.”

“For the first time that I can remember, the BRS members voted not to ratify a national agreement, and with the highest participation rate in BRS history,” Baldwin said in a statement. “Without signalmen, the roadways and railroad crossings would be unsafe for the traveling public, and they shoulder that heavy burden each day.”

The railroads maintain the unions have agreed during decades of negotiations to forego paid sick leave in favor of higher wages and more generous short-term disability benefit. Railroads have rejected all demands for paid sick time, although they did offer the unions that represent engineers and conductors three days of unpaid leave to tend to medical appointments as long as workers give 30 days notice.

Negotiation over deals between railroads and railroad unions have been ongoing since a railroad strike nearly happened last month. Six smaller unions have approved their deals with the railroads.

However earlier this month, the union that represents track maintenance workers also rejected its proposed contract. The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) also cited lack of paid sick time.

“Railroaders are discouraged and upset with working conditions and compensation and hold their employer in low regard. Railroaders do not feel valued,” BMWED President Tony Caldwell said in a statement. “They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

IT’S BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD FOR RAILROAD UNIONS…
AFTER ITS MEMBERS REJECTED THE LATEST AGREEMENT BROKERED BY THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION.
YOU’LL REMEMBER HOW CLOSE THE COUNTRY CAME TO SEEING A RAILROAD STRIKE THAT WOULD’VE COST OUR ECONOMY 2 BILLION DOLLARS A DAY.
THAT WAS ONLY ABOUT A MONTH AGO WHEN THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION STEPPED IN TO HELP BROKER A DEAL BETWEEN RAILROADS AND THE UNIONS REPRESENTING ITS WORKERS.
THE UNIONS CAME BACK TO THEIR WORKERS AND PUT THE NEW AGREEMENT TO A VOTE.
THERE ARE 12 UNIONS INVOLVED IN THE DEAL.
ALL 12 HAVE TO APPROVE THE CONTRACTS IN ORDER FOR THEM TO GO IN EFFECT.
BUT TWO UNIONS HAVE NOW REJECTED IT.
WORKERS WHO TURNED DOWN THE DEAL SAY THEY WANT MORE PAID SICK TIME AND QUALITY OF LIFE TO BE IMPROVED WHEN WORKING ON SKELETON CREWS.
THEY AGREE TO CONTINUE WORKING WHILE THEIR UNION AND THE RAILROADS CONTINUE NEGOTIATIONS…
THROUGH AT LEAST NOVEMBER 19TH.

Media Landscape

more +

49 Other sources covering this story

Bias Distribution

L 34%
C 58%
R 8%

8% of the sources are Right

Powered by Ground News™


A second railroad union, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS), rejected its deal with the major U.S. freight railroads. The union announced Wednesday nearly 61% of the workers who voted opposed the five-year contract, even though it included 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses.

Union President Michael Baldwin cited the “lack of good-faith bargaining” by the railroad. Baldwin added the recommendations of a board of arbitrators that President Joe Biden appointed this summer denied workers the “basic right of paid time off for illness.”

“For the first time that I can remember, the BRS members voted not to ratify a national agreement, and with the highest participation rate in BRS history,” Baldwin said in a statement. “Without signalmen, the roadways and railroad crossings would be unsafe for the traveling public, and they shoulder that heavy burden each day.”

The railroads maintain the unions have agreed during decades of negotiations to forego paid sick leave in favor of higher wages and more generous short-term disability benefit. Railroads have rejected all demands for paid sick time, although they did offer the unions that represent engineers and conductors three days of unpaid leave to tend to medical appointments as long as workers give 30 days notice.

Negotiation over deals between railroads and railroad unions have been ongoing since a railroad strike nearly happened last month. Six smaller unions have approved their deals with the railroads.

However earlier this month, the union that represents track maintenance workers also rejected its proposed contract. The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) also cited lack of paid sick time.

“Railroaders are discouraged and upset with working conditions and compensation and hold their employer in low regard. Railroaders do not feel valued,” BMWED President Tony Caldwell said in a statement. “They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Reports


Get unbiased straight facts, context, and perspective!