WASHINGTON – The Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO today released the following statement on behalf of the 13 rail worker unions involved in the ongoing national contract negotiations with the freight railroads:
“Today, July 24, 2022, the United Rail Unions, who are bargaining as part of the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way/SMART Mechanical Coalition, and the Carriers represented by the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC) began their presentations before the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) appointed by President Biden. The hearings are scheduled to continue through Thursday, July 28, with Friday reserved for facilitation meetings with the parties and the PEB. Following the hearings, the PEB will issue recommendations for settlement of the national agreement dispute. A second thirty-day cooling off period will begin when those recommendations are issued, which should occur on or before August 15.
“A summary of the proposals being advanced by the United Rail Unions can be found here, and a summary of the proposals being advanced by the NCCC can be found here. The Unions’ proposals include a 5-year wage proposal seeking an increase of 31.2% when compounded, while the Carriers are asking the PEB to recommend 17% compounded over 5 years. On the issue of healthcare, the Unions are seeking status quo for employee costs sharing and only seeking slight increases in autism and hearing benefits that are long overdue. Despite employees keeping the Nation’s rail system operating during the pandemic as “essential employees,” the Carriers have the unmitigated gall to ask the PEB to recommend massive healthcare concessions in both the form of drastic increases in employee costs and decreases in certain benefits for employees along with healthcare plan changes that only serve to further increase the records profits they are already reaping. In addition, to wages and healthcare, the Unions are also seeking to create a national sick leave policy and to add 3 new holidays, along with various craft specific work rule proposals.
“As we have previously communicated, the United Rail Unions remain unified in their efforts to secure the best contract possible for our members. We will show this week that the Unions’ proposals are supported by current economic data and are more than warranted when compared to our memberships’ contribution to the record profits of the rail carriers.
“Additional information will be provided as developments warrant.”