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Unions critical of BNSF’s new adjustments to attendance policy

By Admin

Reported by Joanna Marsh for Freightwaves.

Two unions are still critical of BNSF’s controversial attendance policy, saying recent adjustments aren’t enough to overcome its shortcomings.

“BNSF’s proposed changes to its HiViz attendance policy are unimpressive. These changes do nothing to address the policy’s fundamental flaws,” said Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

BNSF implemented the “HiViz” policy, which stands for high visibility, on Feb. 1. The railroad has said the policy aims to provide more transparency on absences as well as more predictability for crews around when they will go to work. But union members contend that the policy shortchanges rest time and penalizes employees for time off.

In response to feedback, BNSF has adjusted the policy several times since February, but the unions argue the most recent tweaks still don’t address worker fatigue sufficiently.

Regan said the changes in point collection that are part of the policy incentivizes “fatigued workers to double down. This will not stand.”

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) also criticized recent changes, with BLET President Dennis Pierce calling the changes a “little more than fluff.” He charged that the policy keeps locomotive engineers and other railroaders on call day after day and around the clock.

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