AP

Rail union that rejected deal signs new tentative agreement

Sep 27, 2022, 12:38 PM | Updated: 1:19 pm

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A union that rejected its deal with the nation’s freight railroads earlier this month now has a new tentative agreement, but officials cautioned that the contract dispute won’t be fully settled until all 12 rail unions approve their agreements this fall.

The five-year deal announced Tuesday includes a 24% pay raise and $5,000 in bonuses that were in the first deal, along with a couple additional benefits including a cap on health insurance expenses and a promise that each railroad will negotiate individually over expense reimbursement.

Andrew W. Sandberg, assistant president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union’s District 19 unit, said he hopes the enhancements will be enough for union members to ratify the agreement. But a nationwide railroad strike is still possible if his union, or any of the 11 other railroad unions, reject their agreements with the railroads that cover 115,000 workers total.

“I certainly do think that there’s a possibility” of a strike, Sandberg said.

If one of the unions does reject their deal, a strike wouldn’t immediately happen because the unions have agreed to delay any walkouts until Dec. 9. So if a deal is voted down, both sides would likely return to the bargaining table. In addition, Congress would likely intervene to prevent a strike that would disrupt the flow of goods across all sectors of the economy.

President Joe Biden declared earlier this month that a railroad strike that would be devastating to the economy had been averted after members of his administration helped broker last-minute deals for the two largest railroad unions that represent engineers and conductors.

One rail union — the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — is scheduled to vote on its deal later this week and two other unions have already approved their deals. But voting by all the unions won’t be completed until mid-November.

Most of the terms of all these deals closely follows the recommendations that a Biden-appointed special board of arbitrators made this summer. That includes the raises, annual $1,000 bonuses and one additional paid leave day, but workers also have to take on a larger share of their health insurance costs.

The unions that represent conductors and engineers — the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers unions — also negotiated to get three unpaid leave days for medical appointments and a promise that workers won’t be penalized if they are hospitalized. The railroads also agreed to negotiate further with those unions about improving the scheduling of regular days off for workers.

Sandberg said members of the Machinists union tend to work more regular schedules than engineers and conductors who say they are on call 24-7 and have to comply with strict attendance policies, so those unpaid leave days weren’t as attractive to them. Plus the SMART and BLET unions agreed to tight restrictions on those days that say they must be approved 30 days ahead of time and taken only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays.

The railroads also promised the Machinists that they won’t force workers to share hotel rooms when they’re on the road for work. And the railroads — which include Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX and Kansas City Southern — said they would do a joint study with the union about forced overtime and the rules on meal breaks during overtime.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

3 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

3 days ago

southern Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly...

Associated Press

Trial of a southern Arizona rancher charged in fatal shooting of unarmed migrant goes to the jury

Closing arguments were made against a southern Arizona rancher accused of shooting an undocumented migrant on his land to death on Thursday.

4 days ago

Donald Trump's hush money trial: 12 jurors selected...

Associated Press

Although 12 jurors were picked for Donald Trump’s hush money trial, selection of alternates is ongoing

A jury of 12 people was seated Thursday in former President Donald Trump's hush money trial. The proceedings are close to opening statements.

4 days ago

A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

5 days ago

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Rail union that rejected deal signs new tentative agreement