The 4th union approves the railway pact

OMAHA, Neb. – Another union has endorsed the deal it reached with major freight railroads last month that helped prevent a strike to win 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses for workers it it represents.

The American Train Dispatchers Association says 64% of its roughly 1,600 members approved the deal with Union Pacific Corp., BNSF Railway Co., Kansas City Southern, CSX Corp., Norfolk Southern Corp. and other railways.

The union said dispatchers will receive an average payout of $17,500 when the five-year deal becomes final, as it is retroactive to 2020.

Four smaller railway unions have now approved agreements with the railways, but the two largest unions that represent engineers and conductors will not vote on their tentative agreements until mid-November.

The 12 unions that represent some 115,000 workers must approve these agreements to prevent a strike, but much of the attention is focused on engineers and conductors, as they raise some of the biggest concerns about timetables and working conditions.

These two unions said the strict attendance policies that some railways have put in place – after the industry cut almost a third of its jobs in the past six years – make it difficult to take time off. and keep workers available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

But even if one of the railway unions rejects their agreement now, there will not automatically be a strike because the unions and the railways have agreed to allow some time to return to the bargaining table before a work stoppage.

Most of the deals the railroad unions vote on closely follow recommendations that a special board of arbitrators President Joe Biden appointed this summer to help resolve the contract dispute. It started almost three years ago.

The administration pressured the two sides to reach agreements before the September 16 strike deadline due to concerns about how a strike could cripple the economy.

In addition to what the council has recommended, the unions that represent engineers and conductors — the Brotherhood of Engineers and Locomotive Drivers and the Transport Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal Workers, air, rail and transport — also negotiated for three days of unpaid leave for medical appointments and a promise that workers will not be penalized if they are hospitalized.

The railroads also agreed to further bargain with these unions on improving the schedule of regular days off.

About Jun Quentin

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