Brotherhood Railway Carmen, TCU/IAM Newsbreak

For Release July 7, 2014
No meetings in July

TCU Heartland Lodge 6760 does not hold regular meetings in July as provided in the Lodge Bylaws.

For Release June 14, 2014
Two Meeting in June

TCU Heartland Lodge 6760 will hold two meetings Tuesday June 24. Columbus Ohio will host a meeting at 11:00 AM., at Bob Evans Restaurant, 5067 Post Road, Dublin, Ohio 43017.

Marion Ohio will host a meeting June 24, at 4:30 PM., at the United Steelworkers Hall, 675 Uncapher Avenue, Marion, Ohio 43302.

To View maps showing the meeting locations see the Lodge Home page.

No lodge meetings will be held in June as directed by the Lodge bylaws.

For Release March 29, 2014
Railroad Retirement
Informational Conference

The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board will hold it's annual Informational Conference June 6, 2014, at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites, 5120 Victory Drive, (I-465 & South Emerson Drive), Indianapolis, Indiana 46203, from 8:30 AM to 12:15 PM. This conference is for union officers, members and their spouses. To register complete the Registration Form and sent it to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, 50 South Meridian Street, Suite 303, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 by May 6, 2014.

For Release March 15, 2014
TCU National Representative
Roger Cain

Update - March 19, 2014: Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for Roger's wellbeing. Roger has multiple fractures, however he is making a remarkable recovery. He is expected to be released from the hospital today or tomorrow.

TCU has learned that Unit 200 National Representative Roger Cain was recently involved in a serious traffic accident. Brother Roger is currently in intensive care. As more details become available we will update this post. At this time we ask for your prayers to help Roger make a full recovery.

For Release January 1, 2014
Heartland Lodge 6760
Election Results

I am pleased to report the results of our Lodge election. Also, I would like to thank our new officers for their commitment to our organization and service to our brothers and sisters. All offices were unopposed, thus a motion was adopted at our December meeting and our Secretary cast a unanimous ballot and nominees were elected by acclamation.

The results of the election are as follows.

PRESIDENT, Michael A. Bleser; VICE PRESIDENT, Chris Pierce; RECORDING SECRETARY, Jameson McKnight; FINANCIAL SECRETARY-TREASURER, Kevin J. Hite; BOARD OF TRUSTEES: Chairman, Shawn M. Fensler; Members: Benjamin J. Melton and Michael R. Fisher; CHAIRMAN of the LOCAL PROTECTIVE COMMITTEE-DELEGATE (Local Chairman), Ben Whitt; ALTERNATE DELEGATE, Kevin D. Mitchell; SERGEANT AT ARMS, Phil Bunch; INNER GUARD, Steve Sutton; OUTER GUARD, Eric Kratzer; CHAPLAIN, Cory Jones; Vice Local Chairman, Detroit, MI, Norfolk Southern, Kevin D. Mitchell; Vice Local Chairman, Columbus, OH, Norfolk Southern, Jerry Kinser; Vice Local Chairman, Huntingburg, IN, Norfolk Southern, Scott Kern; Vice Local Chairman, Fort Wayne, IN, Norfolk Southern, Kevin J. Hite; Vice Local Chairman, Louisville, KY, Norfolk Southern, Dustin McQillen; Vice Local Chairman, Danville, KY, Norfolk Southern, Mathew Arnet; Vice Local Chairman, Cincinnati, OH, Norfolk Southern, Rob Sheid; Vice Local Chairman, Linton, IN, Indiana Railroad, Ryan Sluder; Vice Local Chairman, Roanoke, IN, Road and Rail Services, Chris Garrison; Vice Local Chairmen, Marion, OH, Union Tank Car Company: Jay Fleming, Troy Meadows and Joshua Calbert; Labor Counsel Delegate, AFL-CIO Delegate, Cincinnati, OH, Phillip W. Amadon (Past President); Lodge Website Webmaster, Steve Pequignot.

In addition to the election of lodge officers, our members reaffirmed President Scardaletti's appointment of past president Phil Amadon as Labor Counsel Delegate for Lodge 6760.

Lodge Vice President Chris Pierce and myself appointed a committee for our members in Marion Ohio to prepare for the upcoming contract negotiations.

Brother Pierce and Brother Mitchell have agreed to serve on an Arbitration Committee for our members in Marion to review grievances filed for recommendation of arbitrary appeal. I am currently seeking another member in Marion to serve as the on sight member for this committee.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brothers Rob Reisenger and Kevin Mitchell for their selfless and dedicated service to this lodge and its members. Your commitment to your brothers and sisters in Lodge 6760 is greatly appreciated by all.

To all the returning and new officers, I too thank you for carrying on our fight for fairness, respect, equality, and solidarity.

Fraternally,

Mike Bleser
President
Heartland Lodge 6760

 

 

For Release December 22, 2013
CSX to Hire Carmen in 2014

We have been advised by TCU/BRC National Representative, Roger Cain that CSX is planning to hire over 100 new Carmen next year. They have scheduled 7 training classes throughout 2014. If any NS furloughed Carmen members wish to apply for a CSX job, check on the CSX website www.csx.com for future openings. Applicants must apply online, and if chosen, attend an interview session and a 5 week training class in Atlanta, GA. Applicants should check this site weekly, as CSX only posts jobs for 5 – 7 days at a time. If any TCU/BRC members do apply, please notify Roger Cain, who can act as a reference in the hiring process.

Schedule for 2014 for the CSX REDI Center:

Start Dates. Each class is a 5-week session..

01/13/14
02/24/14
04/07/14
05/19/14
07/07/14
09/08/14
10/20/14

Roger Cain
National Representative
TCU/BRC/IAM
Unit 200

 

For Release December 16, 2013
Norfolk Southern Announces Furloughs

Today we were informed that NS is furloughing Carmen in various locations on the system. The points affected are:

Andover: 2 employees
Decatur: 16 employees
Dickerson: 2 employees
Norfolk: 20 employees
Portsmouth: 43 employees
Shire Oaks: 2 employees

It is my understanding that some points will offer some affected members limited positions in other departments.

Any Student Carman members affected by this need to be made aware that our National Representative, Roger Cain, intends to work out a side agreement to waive the 12 month call back limit for students. This would allow them to be called back prior to rehiring new employees regardless of how long they are furloughed. The carrier has agreed to this in the past furloughs.

Also, this furlough affects the 280 agreement. If our members are have knowledge or are made aware that NS is outsourcing system cars for "any" program work, we need to let our Union Officers know so that grievances can be filed to get our members back to work.

Fraternally,

Mike Bleser
TCU Heartland Lodge 6760 President

 

For Release December 2, 2013
Labor Council Delegate Phil Amadon
To Speak at Cincinnati Symposium

Heartland Lodge 6760 TCU/IAM Labor Council Delegate Phil Amadon will be speaking at an upcoming International Union Co-op Symposium in Cincinnati December 9 and 10. People from 17 states, the District of Columbia, and Spain will be coming to Cincinnati. See attached agenda

 
Business and Union Leaders Discuss Building a Better Economy
Cincinnati Hosts International Union Co-op Symposium, December 9-10
 
An international delegation will meet in Cincinnati with business and union
leaders and workers from around the United States on December 9th to discuss the union co-op sector of the U.S. economy.
 
Union co-ops are for-profit businesses that are owned and directed by workers, that utilize the
collective bargaining process, and are guided by the core principles of sustainability, solidarity,
accountability, and community. The union co-op movement is growing, including eight businesses that are part of the Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative (CUCI).
 
Participants will discuss best practices, union co-op management, financing, training, what the
power of the union co-op model is, how to build an economy that works for all, and more.
 
Hosted by CUCI, the event is the first time so many elements of the U.S. union co-op movement
will gather to strategize next steps and continue learning from the decades-old, economically
thriving Mondragon cooperative system.
 
During the last 57 years, the Mondragon cooperative network has transformed a devastated,
war torn, region of Spain rife with poverty and unemployment into thriving, vibrant communities that have weathered financial crisis. Mondragon’s network, which includes more than 200 cooperatives and 83,000 worker owners, received the coveted Financial Times “Boldness in Business Award” for 2013. Its businesses generated more than $24 billion in sales in 2012.
 
Kristen Barker
Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative

 

For Release November 13, 2013
Nominations of Lodge Officers (Updated November 30, 2013)

Nominations for Lodge Officers will be accepted at the Monday, November 25, 2013 meeting. The nomination meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Riverfront, 600 West 3rd Street, Covington, Kentucky 41011. The meeting will be called to order at 3:30 PM. 

Nominations were accepted for the following offices at the November meeting. Election of these offices will be conducted during the December meeting. Officers will assume their offices January 1, 2014.

President
Vice President
Recording Secretary
Financial Secretary-Treasurer
Chairman Local Protective Committee - Delegate (Local Chairman)
Alternate Delegate
Board of Trustees Chairman
Board of Trustees Members (2)

For Release September 18, 2013
AFL-CIO Convention Report
by Steve Early

As AFL-CIO leaders packed up to leave their Los Angeles convention last Wednesday, they basked in the glow of favorable media coverage. Cribbing from Labor Notes’ own 30-year-old slogan, a union president told the New York Times that the federation had finally “put some movement back in the labor movement.”

Writers Guild of America-East President Michael Winship claimed he had just witnessed the “the most radical restructuring of labor since the AFL and CIO merged nearly sixty years ago.” Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson agreed that the AFL-CIO had made a “strategic shift.”

Feedback was also quite positive from the hundreds of invited guests from worker centers, labor support coalitions, public policy groups, student, feminist, and community organizations, and “social change” foundations—present in larger numbers than ever before.

These enthusiastic “solidarity partners”—from constituencies younger and more diverse than the delegate body—got to make “action session” presentations, hold press conferences and side rallies, and network with unions and foundation funders. Sometimes, rank-and-filers from “alt-labor” groups like worker centers even got airtime on the main stage, for moving celebrations of their difficult organizing work among fellow immigrants.

Who wouldn’t like to believe that a more exciting convention format prefigures a turning point for labor? Unfortunately, greater inclusiveness, closer ties with non-labor allies, and the adoption of pleasingly progressive resolutions only begin to address the real organizing challenges facing labor, whether “alt” or traditional.

Missing from the festivities were strategies for defending and re-energizing labor’s existing members.

Given the extreme attacks both union and non-union workers are suffering, the convention’s heavy emphasis on conventional political strategies and growth through diluted forms of membership was not “transformative” enough to meet the challenges of the day.

Post-Convention Rebuff on Obamacare

AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka had hoped to avoid an embarrassing convention outbreak of public criticism of Obamacare. But irate labor leaders, mainly from unions with multi-employer (Taft-Hartley) health plans, insisted on having their say.

Delegates passed a compromise resolution detailing the “fixes” needed in the Affordable Care Act. Without these changes, union-negotiated health coverage will be “regressed to the mean,” as one congressional staffer predicted in a meeting with D Taylor, president of UNITE-HERE.

Two days later at the White House, though, Trumka, Taylor, and other labor officials received an embarrassing post-convention rebuff. The administration still intends to deny union members in multi-employer plans the access to income-based subsidies that will be offered to other lower-income workers through state insurance exchanges.

The same AFL-CIO media operation that was going full-blast for five days in Los Angeles—and for six months before that—suddenly fell silent on Friday. The AFL-CIO had “no comment” on the White House dismissal of labor’s concerns.

DÉJÀ VU?

The proceedings did have a progressive buzz and grassroots sheen not seen since “New Voice” candidate John Sweeney won the federation’s first contested presidential election in a century, in 1995. Sweeney’s team, which included Trumka, pledged to promote new organizing and political initiatives, community-labor alliances, and anti-globalization efforts, while expanding the role of women, immigrants, and people of color.

Yet, as former AFL headquarters insider Bill Fletcher reported in his book, Solidarity Divided, these reform efforts ran out of steam as early as 1998. For the next decade or more, AFL-CIO restructuring was more rhetorical than real.

Last week, with two younger-generation staffers (both in their 40s) on Trumka’s new leadership team, the convention re-adopted New Voice ideas from 20 years ago. Delegates again embraced the need for community-labor coalitions, greater independence in politics, and, of course, more members—preferably in the millions.

It was taken as given that these additional working Americans can’t be recruited into traditional bargaining units. The new thinking is that labor can boost its membership stats—and political clout—through closer structural ties to the Sierra Club, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, or MomsRising. This would enable the house of labor to count as “members” people on those groups’ mailing lists, too.

The other method is to count as new members anyone ever solicited on their doorstep by a canvasser from the AFL-CIO’s own, soon-to-be-expanded alt-labor vehicle, Working America.

This outfit, set up originally for political action purposes, now claims 3.2 million “members.” Almost none pay dues or have any workplace connection to each other. The federation spends more than $10 million a year on Working America, which is also subsidized by national and local union donations.

GETTING OFF MESSAGE

To keep convention messaging on track, AFL headquarters prepared helpful “talking points.” The most frequently heard refrain was, “This convention will be the most innovative and diverse in history. It’s an exciting time as we open our doors and engage with allies and the non-union community as never before.”

Unfortunately for federation spin-doctors, some avatars of the AFL’s more traditional labor organizations didn’t stay on message, and their political influence was still much felt behind the scenes.

For example, Fire Fighters President Harold Schaitberger warned, in an interview with The Nation, about the AFL becoming “the American Federation of Progressive and Liberal Organizations.” Schaitberger didn’t like the idea of a labor movement that’s “an extension of one ideological part of our society.”

Terence O’Sullivan of the Laborers ranted at length about the Sierra Club’s betrayal of labor, because it opposes the Keystone XL pipeline favored by the building trades and the Teamsters.

But O’Sullivan did make one constructive suggestion: “We came here to talk about a new movement,” he said. “But let’s not forget about the old movement.”

MOST IN NEED?

Trumka has made his questionable new focus quite explicit. “The labor movement needs to be not where we’ve been but where workers are most in need,” he told a conference of labor academics in June.

The federation’s de-emphasis on union members’ workplace problems was reflected in what proposed workshops were scheduled (or rejected) at the convention. Judging by the content of the “action sessions,” dealing with employers in traditional workplaces is barely on labor’s to-do list at all.

You could learn much about the health and safety needs of workers in Bangladesh, but there was no brainstorming about strengthening local safety committees here. Fighting givebacks and speed-up, organizing strikes, mobilizing members on the job, creating a “stewards’ army” face to face (as opposed to online) were all given little play.

Labor’s most important public sector struggle since the 2011 “Wisconsin Uprising” was allotted a single presenter on the one panel (out of 50) that dealt with contract campaigns. Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) organizer Matt Luskin recounted how reformers won office, rebuilt their local, and worked with the community as a precursor to last fall’s successful nine-day strike against Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and his school board.

As dissident academic Stanley Aronowitz noted several months ago, “Organized labor is still more than 15 million strong…. Why not seek reform of the existing unions?” Encouraging this course of action is, of course, not part of the AFL-CIO agenda, this year or any year.

ALT-LABOR ORGANIZING NOT EASY

One thing is certain. U.S. unions aren’t going to meet the challenges they face by further abandoning the workplace terrain still occupied by their own members or by workers strategic to the future of important industries like telecom.

Generic “associate member” programs, like Working America, may be useful for building political mailings lists, conducting voter registration, and doing voter education and turnout. Maybe next, promoting labor-endorsed insurance plans in the state insurance exchanges?

But dumbing down the concept of membership, in the process, is not a “strategic shift” so much as a shell game. It has little in common with existing serious, long-term efforts to build workplace organization in the absence of employer recognition and bargaining rights.

One instructive example—the decade-long “minority union” campaign at T-Mobile—was given some airtime in L.A. last week. The plenary and workshop presentations by fired T-Mobile worker Josh Coleman and Communications Workers President Larry Cohen provided a much-needed reality check: building and sustaining TU, a voluntary membership organization of T-Mobile workers, has not been easy.

Even with help from the German union at T-Mobile’s parent company and much CWA local union and member-organizer involvement, it has taken 10 years of work to recruit 1,000 TU supporters in a union-eligible workforce of 20,000.

Only 15 T-Mobile workers in Connecticut have been able to win formal bargaining rights thus far. But workplace education, cross-border networking, direct action, publicity, legal complaints, and community support have produced some important non-contract gains.

For similar union-building candor, plus in-depth discussion of organizing, bargaining, and strikes, readers should consider attending Labor Notes’ national conference, April 4-6 in Chicago. It won’t change the world of labor all by itself either, but it will have the workplace perspective so MIA from the AFL convention.

Alt-laborers and “old union movement” members alike will find common ground—more solid than labor’s official terra firma in La La Land last week.

As a longtime staffer of the Communications Workers, Steve Early assisted CWA-backed alt-labor experiments like the Massachusetts High Tech Workers Network, the Alliance @ IBM, and WAGE at General Electric. His new book, Save Our Unions, forthcoming from Monthly Review Press in November, contains an account of CWA’s ongoing “minority union” campaign at T-Mobile.


Steve Early is a member of the Labor Notes Policy Committee. He can be reached at lsupport@aol.com

 

For Release April 30, 2013
United HealthCare Group Policy GA-23111
Premiums to Increase for Plan E effective June 1, 2013

At recent meetings with Cooperating Railway labor Organizations constituting the Policyholder under Group Policy GA-23111, a detailed study of the premiums and benefit payments under the various Plans was made. We are pleased to announce that, except for a modest increase for Plan E, there will be no changes in the monthly payment rate effective June 1, 2013. The rate change for Plan E will be reflected in bills beginning with June coverage, for which payment is due May 20.

Plan A, current rate $355.00, no change
Plan B, current rate $485.00, no change
Plan C, current rate $625.00, no change
Plan E, current rate $207.00, new rate effective June 1, 2013 $212.00
Plan F, current rate $185.00, no change

 

For Release March 4, 2013
Sequestration Effects Some Railroad Retirement Benefits

The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board announced that as a result of the recent Sequestration Order in accordance with the Budget Control Act of 2011, individuals receiving Sickness and Unemployment benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA) will be notified that effective March 1, 2013, RUIA benefits will be reduced 9.2%. It is anticipated that the initial reductions will continue until September 30, 2013. Read the full story.

 

For Release November 30, 2012
United HealthCare Group Policy GA-46000


The lifetime maximum under the negotiated medical plans for early retirees will increase by $4,700 from $131,500 to $136,200, effective January 1, 2013, due to automatic adjustments based on medical cost inflation. The change affects members enrolled in the Railroad Employees National Early Retirement Major Medical Plan United Healthcare Policy GA—46000)

These early retirement plans provide a bridge of medical insurance coverage for those employees retiring before age 65 who do not yet qualify for Medicare, and the plans are available to qualified retirees and eligible dependents at no cost to the individual. Generally, retirees between ages 60 and 65 with at least 360 months (30 years) of railroad service may participate in the plans so long as they had coverage on the day before their retirement under the Railroad Employees National Health and Welfare Plan.


In solidarity,
Robert A. Scardelletti
National President

 

For Release November 15, 2012
Norfolk Southern Employees Returning to Work

TO ALL NORFOLK SOUTHERN EMPLOYEES: 

In order to improve the Norfolk Southern Medical Department's return to work process and expedite your safe and timely return to work from an absence, effective November 12, 2012, the medical policy requiring return-to-work physical examinations by a company-designated physician following any medical or non-medical absence of greater than 90 days for employees holding sedentary safety-sensitive and/or physically demanding positions, and greater than one year for employees holding sedentary and/or non safety-sensitive positions, is being eliminated. The newreturn to work process effective November 12th is described below:

 RETURN TO WORK FROM A MEDICAL ABSENCE:

 The Medical Department will continue to evaluate the fitness for service of those employees who are returning from a medical absence and have been released to work by their health care provider to ensure their ability to safely perform their essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodations, with respect to their medical condition(s). As part of this process, the NSMD may request that you have your health care provider furnish medical records or reports pertaining to the medical condition(s) which prompted the absence, and/or undergo further evaluation such as a functional capacity evaluation (FCE), medical specialty evaluation (MSE), field test or work simulation.

 The Medical Department understands that you may face a number of challenges while off work medically, and we are committed to expediting this process by rendering timely fitness for duty decisions that enable your safe and prompt return to work. You can assist with this process by ensuring that your doctor(s) provides the requested information as quickly as possible.

RETURN TO WORK FROM A NON-MEDICAL ABSENCE OF 1 YEAR OR LONGER:

If you are returning to work following a non-medical absence of one year or longer, such as leave of absence, furlough, military leave, discipline, etc., a Health Questionnaire must be completed and returned to Medical for review and approval. You can access at interactive version of the Health questionnaire on the ERC (go to "Employee Self Service", click on the “Medical Information" link, then in the "Medical" menu under "Policy'', click on “Health questionnaire"). This interactive version is also available outside the NS network (e.g., from a home computer) at www.nscorp.com (click on "Employees", then click on the "Medical" tab under which the questionnaire is located). Alternatively, you can obtain the Health Questionnaire from your supervisor.

Depending upon the responses noted in the Health Questionnaire, additional medical information and/or evaluations may need to be furnished to enable a timely and appropriate fitness for duty determination.

RETURN TO WORK (FROM A NON-MEDICAL ABSENCE OF LESS THAN 1 YEAR):

Unless there are fitness for service issues, no medical information or evaluation is necessary if you are returning from a non-medical absence of less than one year.

Once a fitness for duty determination has been made regarding your return to work after a medical or non-medical absence, the Medical Department will promptly notify your supervisor or appropriate administrative personnel of your work status.

Any questions related to this new Return to Work policy and process should be directed to the Medical Department at (800) 552-2306. The Medical Department, of course, reserves the right to modify this policy and process at any time in the future.

Read complete details in the Members' Online Library.

 

For Release November 13, 2012
The Railroad Employees National Vision Plan

Effective January 1, 2013, your Vision Plan benefits will be provided by EyeMed Vision Care.

There is no change to the Plan design but there will be a few enhancements.
• A large national network, consisting of BOTH independent and retail-affiliated providers.
• 5 of the top 6 most preferred national retailers: LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical and JCPenney Optical.
• Employees will receive ID cards.
• Greater member discounts (40% vs. current 30%) on complete second pair purchases. There are no restrictions on how often or where a member can use the EyeMed additional pairs discount feature (applies at all in-network locations, at any time).
• During the first plan year (2013), each member can receive a $60 discount on non-prescription Ray-Ban polarized sunglasses at a participating provider -
 visit the “store locator” at www.rayban.com to locate a participating provider.
• A no-cost DISCOUNT PLAN coverage for early retirees will be introduced. This Discount Plan will not be a part of the Railroad Employees National Vision Plan but it will provide early retirees with savings on eye exams and material purchases at an EyeMed provider location.

In November members will receive a postcard from VSP to EyeMed announcing the change from VSP to EyeMed.

In January, members will receive ID cards, information on participating providers in your areas, and a Summary of Benefits. Read the complete details.

For Release November 2, 2012
Railroad Workers Out of Work
by Hurricane Sandy May Seek Help

 

RRB Reaches Out to Rail Workers Affected by Hurricane Sandy

The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) is reminding rail employees out of work due to Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath that they may qualify for unemployment benefits. To determine eligibility or file claims for benefits, affected railroaders should call the RRB’s toll-free telephone number (1-877-772-5772) or visit its website at www.rrb.gov. Rail workers who are out of work and without Internet or regular mail service may temporarily claim benefits by calling the RRB’s toll-free number until services are restored.

In order to file an application for benefits online via the website, an individual must have an Internet Services Account with the agency. For security purposes, first-time users must obtain a unique password, which they can do by clicking on the link for requesting a Password Request Code (PRC) in the Benefit Online Services login section of the www.rrb.gov home page.
 
Individuals who have already established an Internet Services Account and password can go online to file applications and claims for biweekly unemployment benefits, as well as conduct other business with the RRB over the Internet. For rail workers without power or Internet access, the RRB encourages them to call the agency toll-free at 1-877-772-5772.

Claimants can also find the address of the RRB office servicing their area and get information about their claims and benefit payments by calling this toll-free number. Most RRB offices are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays. Field office locations can also be found online at www.rrb.gov.
Railroad unemployment benefits are normally paid for the number of days of unemployment over four in 14-day registration periods. The maximum daily benefit rate is currently $66, so maximum benefits for biweekly claims will total $660. In addition, during the first 14-day claim period in a benefit year, benefits are payable for each day of unemployment in excess of seven, rather than four, which basically creates a one-week waiting period.

To qualify for normal railroad unemployment benefits in the benefit year that began July 1, 2012, an employee must have had railroad earnings of at least $3,325 in calendar year 2011, counting no more than $1,330 for any month. Those who were first employed in the rail industry in 2011 must also have at least five months of creditable railroad service in that year.

Under certain conditions, employees with at least 10 years of service who do not qualify on the basis of their 2011 earnings may still be able to receive benefits. For example, employees who received normal benefits in the benefit year that ended June 30, 2012, might still be eligible for extended benefits. In addition, 10-year employees may be eligible for accelerated benefits if they have rail earnings of at least $3,412.50 in 2012, not counting earnings of more than $1,365 a month.
 
News provided by Steve Wilhelm, TCU/IAM Director Constitution & Laws

For Release October 13, 2012
Railroad Retirement COLA Increase for 2013

Most railroad retirement annuities, like social security benefits, are scheduled to increase in January 2013 on the basis of the rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the third quarter of 2011 to the corresponding period of the current year.

Cost-of-living increases are calculated in both the tier I and tier II benefits included in a railroad retirement annuity. Tier I benefits, like social security benefits, will increase by 1.7 percent, which is the percentage of the CPI rise. Tier II benefits will increase by 0.6 percent, which is 32.5 percent of the CPI rise. The vested dual benefit payments and supplemental annuities also paid by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) are not adjusted for the CPI rise.

In January 2013, the average regular railroad retirement employee annuity will increase $32 a month to $2,386 and the average of combined benefits for an employee and spouse will increase $45 a month to $3,417. For those aged widow(er)s eligible for an increase, the average annuity will increase $19 a month to $1,249. However, widow(er)s whose annuities are being paid under the Railroad Retirement and Survivors' Improvement Act of 2001 will not receive annual cost-of-living adjustments until their annuity amount is exceeded by the amount that would have been paid under prior law, counting all interim cost-of-living increases otherwise payable. About 35 percent of the widow(er)s on the RRB's rolls are being paid under the 2001 law.

If a railroad retirement or survivor annuitant also receives a social security or other government benefit, such as a public service pension, the increased tier I benefit is reduced by the increased government benefit. However, tier II cost-of-living increases are not reduced by increases in other government benefits. If a widow(er) whose annuity is being paid under the 2001 law is also entitled to an increased government benefit, her or his railroad retirement survivor annuity may decrease.

However, the total amount of the combined railroad retirement widow(er)'s annuity and other government benefits will not be less than the total payable before the cost-of-living increase and before any increase in Medicare premium deductions.

For most beneficiaries covered by Medicare, the standard Part B premium generally deducted from monthly benefits is likely to increase from the 2012 amount, with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expected to announce the 2013 premium amounts in the coming weeks.

In late December the RRB will mail notices to all annuitants providing a breakdown of the annuity rates payable to them in January 2013.

For Release May 8, 2012
United HealthCare GA-23111
Rates Increase

Effective June 1, 2012, monthly payment rates under Group Policy GA-23111, for retired members will increase as noted below:

Plan A, current rate $335 will increase to $355
Plan B, current rate $460 will increase to $485
Plan C, current rate $590 will increase to $625
Plan E, current rate $200 will increase to $207
Plan F, current rate $180 will increase to $185

These rates were provided by United HealthCare.

For Release April 19, 2012
Railroad Retirement Under Attack

Sisters and Brothers,


Recently the US House of Representatives passed a budget known as the “Ryan” budget. Part of that budget contains a provision to change the Railroad Retirement Act as we know it today by modifying the Tier 1 provisions to conform with the benefits provided by Social Security. In effect, this would eliminate the 60/30 retirement provision and do away with our Occupational Disability provision, benefits that Rail Labor has fought hard for over the years obtain and maintain.


We have been fighting this proposal since its inception in a House committee, and continue to fight it today. The issue of the Ryan Budget and the proposed changes to the Railroad Retirement system have been discussed on numerous occasions prior to passage of the bill by the House, and since the bill has been passed by the House. The most recent discussions were held at the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) Executive Committee meeting in March, at a Railroad Retirement Board Legislative seminar last Monday, and again at the RLD meeting last Tuesday. Additionally, IBEW Legislative Representatives and Legislative Reps from all of the Rail Labor unions have been working on this issue since the House Committee released its report. Our Legislative Representatives have been contacting Congressmen and Senators and their staff members and re-educating them on the Railroad Retirement Act - letting them know how and why the system exists as it does, how no changes have ever been made to the Act without agreement between management and labor, and how proposed legislation such as this would be very detrimental to the working women and men on our nation's railroads.


At this point it is the opinion of Rail Labor that this proposed legislation as presented will never even be considered by the Senate and that it will be changed drastically, as most legislation is, before it moves any further. It is also the consensus of Rail Labor that, aside from what we are doing as noted above, at this time, and for various reasons, we should keep a low profile on the issue. We will be keeping a close eye specifically on the Railroad Retirement piece of this legislation in case the republicans attempt to make it part of another piece of legislation and slip it through for a vote. If the time comes that something like this seems like it may have a chance of actually becoming law, you can rest assured that Rail Labor will mount a full-scale and aggressive campaign against it. As additional information, we have also been informed by the railroads that they too oppose this proposed change to the Railroad Retirement System.


If you have any questions pertaining to the foregoing, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Fraternally,
Bill Bohné, Jr.
Director – IBEW Railroad Department
202-728-6016

For Release March 7, 2012
Railroad Retirement Informational Conference

The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board has scheduled an Informational Conference for Friday, May 4, 2012, from 8:00 AM. to 12:15 PM., at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites, 5120 Victory Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana 46203. The LaQuinta Inn is located on the southeast corner of the I-465/Emerson Avenue intersection on the south side of Indianapolis. Pre-registration is required by April 4, 2012. This conference is open to union officers, members and their spouses. You may download the registration form from the TCU's Online Library.

 

For Release February 10, 2012
Back Pay & Lump Sum Payments Update

Norfolk Southern Railway has advised they are currently processing the back pay and lump sum payments due to members of the Carmen Division of TCU. The carrier expects such payments will be made timely as stipulated in the new National Agreement. Payments should be received by March 4, 2012.

For Release January 13, 2012

Rockville, Maryland - The TCU Carmen National Agreement became effective January 4, 2012. The complete agreement is available in the Members' Online Library.

For Release December 22, 2011
TCU Carmen and Clerks Overwhelmingly Ratify National Contract

Rockville, Maryland - TCU Carmen and Clerical members have ratified contracts with the national freight carriers by resounding margins.

86% of Carmen voted in favor of the contract.
93% of Clerical members voted in favor of the contract.

“I am gratified by these record votes,” said TCU President Robert Scardelletti. “It was a hard fight to achieve a contract with wages and benefits worthy of our members’ ratification. And we did fight, all the way to a Presidential Emergency Board. The results speak for themselves.”

The carriers have been notified of the results, and they have sixty days to issue retroactive checks, and ninety days to pay the bonus. TCU will work with the carriers to expedite the implementation of the wage increases, and the handling of the retroactive and bonus checks.

For Release December 2, 2011
No Rail Strike December 6

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the American Train Dispatchers Association reached tentative agreements with the National Carriers Conference Committee on December 1, 2011, to settle their national contracts.


On the same date, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes agreed with the carriers to extend the cooling off period from December 6, 2011 to February 8, 2012, to allow further discussion of the union’s request to increase reimbursements for away-from-home expenses.

With these developments, there is now no possibility of a strike on December 6.

 

For Release November 28, 2011
Ratification Packets Mailed to All Members

Ratification packets have been printed and mailed to every member covered under the Tentative Agreement with the National Freight Railroads.

Both Clerks and Carmen will receive a packet in the mail including:
  • Message from National President Bob Scardelletti
  • Summary Highlights of the Tentative Agreement
  • Complete Text of the 2011 Agreement
  • Postcard Ratification Ballot

Carmen members will additionally have a letter from Carmen Division President Richard Johnson.

Please remember that the signed ballot must be returned to TCU no later than December 22, 2011 in order to be counted.

"This agreement delivers excellent increases in compensation while holding the line on employee health care costs, I strongly urge every member to vote yes,” said TCU President Bob Scardelletti.


Click here to view the Carmen Ratification Packet.

Click here to view the Clerical Ratification Packet.

Click here to view the detailed summary of the changes to the health and welfare of the agreements.

Click here to read the PEB report.

Questions concerning the proposed agreement, ratification or balloting procedures, should be directed to tcuvote@tcunion.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

For Release November 18, 2011
National Agreement Ratification Process

Three of the coalition partners with TCU in national negotiations have made agreements mirroring the Presidential Emergency Board’s (PEB) recommendations. The International Association of Machinists (IAM), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) each reached tentative agreements with the railroads involved in National bargaining.

Four unions from the Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition (RLBC) also made agreements based on the PEB recommendations. The four organizations are the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association.

Two other RLBC-represented organizations, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes are without an agreement and remain in negotiations with the National Rail Carriers.

The PEB report was released on November 5.

TCU has prepared ratification packets for every member covered under the Tentative Agreement with the National Freight Railroads. Both Clerks and Carmen will receive a packet in the mail including:
  • Message from National President Bob Scardelletti
  • Summary Highlights of the Tentative Agreement
  • Complete Text of the 2011 Agreement
  • Postcard Ratification Ballot

Carmen members will additionally have a letter from Carmen Division President Richard Johnson.

The packets have been sent to the printer and have a target mailing date of November 28, 2011. The ballot portion must be returned to TCU no later than December 22, 2011.

For questions or concerns about the ratification or balloting procedures, please direct your emails to tcuvote@tcunion.org.

 

For Release November 14, 2011
TCU CARMEN AND CLERKS REACH TENTATIVE NATIONAL AGREEMENTS SUBJECT TO RATIFICATION OF THE MEMBERSHIP


The Agreements mirror exactly the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board 243.

TCU is in the process of preparing ratification packages that will be sent to each Carmen and Clerical member working on a railroad covered by national bargaining.

Additional information will be provided just as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, every member should take the time to read the extremely comprehensive report issued by Presidential Emergency Board 243, which is posted in the online library.

Carmen Division General President Richard Johnson and National President Robert A. Scardelletti strongly urge ratification. They point to the outstanding wage increases of 20.1% over 6 years, plus a 1% bonus, at a time when most contracts in the United States are coming in at far less.

"It's been a very difficult two years of bargaining, but in the end we have prevailed,” said National President Scardelletti. “By standing tough and going to a PEB, we achieved more than we ever could have at the bargaining table. We also achieved more than what the carriers claimed was the pattern settlement. By any measure, this agreement delivers excellent increases in compensation while holding the line on employee health care costs.”

For Release November 6, 2011
PEB 243 Issues Recommendations

On Saturday, November 5, 2011, Presidential Emergency Board 243 issued its recommendations for resolution of the contract dispute between TCU Clerks and Carmen, as well as ten other rail labor unions, with the national freight carriers, including Burlington Northern Santa Fe, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Soo Line, Union Pacific and 23 other railroads.

The Report’s key recommendations are for 20.1% in compounded wage increases over a 6 year period, plus a 1% lump sum bonus. It also recommends maintaining the current health insurance employee contribution at $200 until July, 2016. That recommendation was explicitly tied to adoption of the UTU health and welfare plan design changes, but on a delayed implementation schedule.

Negotiations between TCU, its coalition partners (ATDA, IAM, IBEW and TWU), and the national freight railroads have been scheduled for November 10-11 and 14-15.

The wage increase recommendations of the Board are as follows:

  • July 1, 2010: 2.0%
  • July 1, 2011: 2.5%
  • July 1, 2012: 4.3%
  • July 1, 2013: 3.0%
  • July 1, 2014: 3.8%
  • January 1, 2015: 3.0%

Upon signing, the PEB recommended that employees receive a lump sum payment upon ratification equal to 1% of straight-time earnings paid to each employee for the 12 month period November 1, 2010 through October 31, 2011. This payment will be calculated after applying the July 1, 2010 and July 1, 2011 wage increases. The 1% bonus will also be in addition to the retroactive payment of 2% on all earnings (including overtime) for the period July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011, and the retroactive payment of 4.5% on all earnings (including overtime) for the period July 1, 2011 through date of signing.

“We intend to negotiate seriously over this recommendation,” says TCU President Bob Scardelletti. “It contains wage increases well beyond what was available to us in the carrier’s last offer based on the UTU deal. Over the six years, the contract produces more than $30,000 for the average TCU member.”

“We are disappointed in the Board’s recommendation of the UTU health insurance plan design changes” adds Scardelletti. “We put on a vigorous case that our Health Plan should be left alone. The PEB rejected our argument. But they did recommend keeping the employee contribution at $200 through at least July, 2016, which is a tremendous benefit.”

“And the delayed and partial implementation of the UTU plan design changes will result in more money in our members’ pockets than was offered us in the UTU deal,” Scardelletti says.

Under the Board’s recommendations, the plan design changes will be delayed until July 1, 2012. At that time, managed care deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums will be introduced on a 50% basis, with the managed care deductible at $100 single/$200 family, and the out-of-pocket maximums set at $500 single/$1,000 family for the rest of that year. On January 1, 2013, managed care deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums will be set for the next year at 75% of the full amount – deductibles at $150 single/$300 family, and out-of-pocket maximums at $750 single/$1500 maximum. Managed care deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums will increase to their maximum amounts on January 1, 2014: deductibles at $200 single/$400 family and out-of-pocket maximums at $1,000 single/$2,000 family.

The PEB emphasized that many of the recommended changes, such as lowering the cost of generic drugs and urgent care visits, will save employees money. In their view, on balance the health care changes are significantly less costly for employees than to continue with the current plan with the 15% employee contribution.

The PEB recommendations were received Saturday evening, November 5, in a comprehensive, 92 page Report. The Report detailed both sides’ arguments for their respective positions, and explained how the Board arrived at its ultimate recommendations. The bottom line was a wage recommendation that exceeded both the carrier offer at the bargaining table and to the Board.

The PEB hearings were held for six days in Washington, D.C. on October 13, 14, 17, 18, 19 and 20. Each side presented two full days of testimony, with the final two day reserved for rebuttal and meetings with the Board.

TCU President Scardelletti was the lead witness and spokesman for all eleven rail unions at the PEB. He argued forcefully for the unions’ wage proposals and its demand to maintain the status quo on health insurance, with no plan design changes. He emphasized the carriers’ record economic health.

TCU Vice President and Special Assistant to the President Joel Parker later testified on behalf of all the eleven unions on the health insurance issues, arguing that the $200 monthly contribution must not be raised, and again that the UTU plan design changes should be rejected.

Other witnesses included BRS President Dan Pickett, IAM District 19 President Joe Duncan on behalf of the shop craft unions’ craft specific proposals, and various spokesmen from the individual unions for their unique craft demands.

The foundation of the unions’ case was expert testimony by Labor Economist Tom Roth. On health care, actuarial consultant Cheiron, Inc. testified on behalf of the unions’ position.

The carriers’ witnesses argued that the UTU settlement was the pattern, and represented a very generous agreement in light of other current union settlements at a time of low inflation. The carriers focused on the relative richness of the national health plan in terms of benefits and employee share of costs compared to the vast majority of other plans, including collectively bargained ones.

The PEB was appointed by President Obama and was comprised of renowned labor arbitrators: Chairman Ira Jaffe, Members Roberta Golick, Josh Javits, Gilbert Vernon and Arnold Zack.

Under the Railway Labor Act, the parties have thirty days from the issuance of the Report to reach agreement. Failing that, a union or unions could strike, and/or the carriers can impose their proposals.

“We intend to bargain to an agreement, based on the Board’s recommendations,” says TCU President Scardelletti. “The PEB recommendations deliver tangible, real wage gains far beyond what is occurring anywhere else in the country. We cannot risk letting the anti-labor diehards in the Republican Congress get a chance to overturn these findings if we fail to reach an agreement. We will negotiate hard in the next two weeks for the best possible implementation of the Report. Our goal is to reach an agreement to submit to ratification by our membership.”

Click here to read the full report from Presidential Emergency Board 243.

 

For Release October 28, 2011
PEB 243 Hearings

Presidential Emergency Board 243 that was established on October 6, 2011, held six days of hearings beginning on October 14. At those hearings the Carriers and TCU (jointly with 10 other Rail Unions) made comprehensive presentations to the PEB covering wages, rules and health and welfare. We held firm to our position that the UTU agreement does not set the pattern for the 11 unions that were not a party to that agreement and that our members deserve enhancements in wages and health and welfare benefits rather than givebacks.

Under the Railway Labor Act the PEB must render its recommendations within 30 days of the date it was established which means a decision is due no later than November 6, 2011, after which another 30 day cooling off period will begin to give the parties a chance to reach an agreement considering the recommendations of the PEB. The members of the PEB may, however, request an extension of time to render their recommendations. We will advise of the Board's recommendations as soon as they are received.

For Release October 6, 2011
Presidential Emergency Board Established

This is to advise that President Obama has appointed a 5 member panel to a Presidential Emergency Board. Accordingly, there will be NO rail strike by ANY union. More details will be available shortly. Please advise your committeemen and members by the fastest communication possible.

Fraternally,

Steve Wilhelm
 

For Release September 6, 2011
NMB Releases TCU from Mediation

September 6, 2011 -- The National Mediation Board (NMB) today terminated its mediation services in national negotiations involving TCU and the nation’s freight carriers.

The NMB’s release of the parties was required by the Railway Labor Act once TCU rejected the Board’s proffer of arbitration on September 2. The National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC), the bargaining arm of the freight railroads, accepted the arbitration proffer. Both parties would have had to accept for binding arbitration to occur.

The Board simultaneously released the other ten rail unions still bargaining for a national contract.

The Board’s release begins a thirty day cooling off period which will last until 12:01 a.m. October 7, 2011. At the end of that time, either party could resort to self-help.

However, it is widely expected that sometime before the end of the cooling off period, the NMB will recommend to President Obama that he appoint a Presidential Emergency Board, and that he will do so. It is expected that one PEB will be created to hear the dispute of all eleven unions, including TCU Clerks and Carmen, with the NCCC.

 

For Release August 19, 2011
TCU Lodge 6047
in Knoxville, Tennessee
to Host Major Training Event

TCU Lodge 6047 will host a Local Chairmen Educational Seminar September 13 and 14, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The seminar is geared to update local chairmen and other lodge officers of TCU Unit 200, about topics such as representing members in formal investigations, protecting your members under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, writing grievance claims, fair representation, Resolution 51, the 2012 IAM Grand Lodge Convention, Resolution 32, protecting your members under the Federal Railroad Safety Act, researching awards online, filling out railroad company reports, and the importance of receiving hazmat training.

The seminar will be sponsored by the C. Marshall Friedman Law Firm, www.marshallfriedman.com. For additional details contact Carl Lakin at carllakin@hotmail.com.

 

For Release June 15, 2011
Statement by TCU President Bob Scardelletti
Rejecting the UTU Agreement
as a Basis for a National Settlement


June 15, 2011 -- Rockville, Maryland, TCU and its coalition partners reject the terms of the tentative UTU agreement with the national freight carriers as a basis for voluntarily settling the national contract.

The other coalition involved in national negotiations has also rejected the UTU agreement as a pattern for settlement.

That means that every union in national bargaining has now rejected the UTU tentative agreement as a basis for settlement.

We believe that 17% in wage increases over six years is not a fair settlement in light of the carriers’ record profitability, nor do we accept the need for the radical restructuring of our health plan.

The agreement does contain significant additional economic gains for UTU members -- certification pay, bonuses and enhancements for rate progression employees -- which apparently were used to entice the UTU to agree to almost the exact same plan design concessions that our coalition rejected back in April. Even if the carriers offered the full value of cert pay and the rate progression bonuses and shortening, it would still not be enough to make this an acceptable agreement.

For 18 months our coalition’s position has never wavered, and it will not now. The carriers are racking up record profits, at a pace double than what they did during our last bargaining round. There is no reason for a single concession in this environment, let alone major cost shifting to employees in health care. Nor can we or will we accept a wage settlement inferior to what we achieved last round.

The health care changes in the UTU agreement are unacceptable on two counts. First, the magnitude of the savings to the Plan is tremendous, over $4,600 per employee over five years. Of that, over $3,700 is in the form of direct cost shifting to the employee. The rest comes from changes, in many cases onerous, to the way employees will get treatments and drugs. It is outrageous that Medco will now have veto power over major drugs that doctors prescribe.

Secondly, I disagree with the whole idea of pushing insurance costs onto those who most need it by upping user costs. That’s what insurance is for – to protect you when you’re sick and most need it. Under the UTU agreement’s unprecedented introduction of deductibles and coinsurance to managed care, the sickest employees will be hit with huge bills. That’s not my idea of a fair insurance plan.

We don’t see the need for any negative changes to our health care plan given the carriers’ unprecedented prosperity. Every quarter they report new records in profits and earnings. All of that has been achieved under our current plan. Why would we agree to give them more than a half billion in concessionary savings in that environment? How much is enough?

I have long done everything in my power to enhance the carriers’ economic returns provided it did not come at the expense of employees. I have stood with them against reregulation, environmentalists’ assaults on coal, and any number of efforts that would adversely impact their economic health.
And I will continue to do so. I continue to believe that it is in our best interest to have the healthiest, most profitable employers in the country. And we do. Now it’s time for them to share their prosperity with the employees who contribute so much. It is not a time to give back anything.

I am proud to be bargaining in a coalition with the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA), the International Association of Machinists (IAM), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU). Each of these strong unions has unequivocally rejected the UTU agreement as a pattern for our settlements.

Our coalition demanded to be released from mediation last December and again in February. The NMB rejected our request the first time, and has not responded to our February request.

Now, in the face of the UTU agreement, the other coalition of unions has also requested the NMB to release them from mediation. That coalition is comprised of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen/IBT, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes/IBT, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU, and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association.

Our coalition met with the other coalition last week. We agreed that we could work together before a single Presidential Emergency Board. Not a single union in national bargaining outside the UTU believes that the health care changes in the UTU agreement are in any way acceptable, or that the wage increases are sufficient.

We plan to renew our demand for release at NMB-called negotiations scheduled for June 28 and 29. The NMB insists that we meet again with the carriers even though we have continuously stated that we will not make a single concession in our health care plan. The NMB should release us as soon as possible. We are fully prepared to make a strong case to a Presidential Emergency Board.

We are clearly at impasse. The NMB must not delay releasing us because of the UTU’s lengthy ratification process. We will be at impasse whether the UTU agreement ratifies or not. We will never voluntarily agree to these terms.

The carriers have already stated that the UTU agreement, less the additional compensation to UTU employees, is a pattern for all other Unions to accept. That will not fly. That package is DOA.

We cannot and will not be held hostage to an agreement we had no say over. An agreement that falls far short of a fair and just settlement. An agreement that we believe was achieved through cynical and devious horse trading where one union was offered gains in return for agreeing to changes in health insurance that the carriers assume will be shoved down the throat of every other union, even though they knew that all the other unions opposed these changes. An agreement that would drastically diminish the health benefits of over 400,000 rail workers and their dependents, and subject an additional 31,000 retirees and dependents to restrictive drug constraints.

Brothers and Sisters, we did not come this far to simply roll over because someone made an agreement. We will fight with every ounce of power our Union has. We will fight for as long as it takes and we will do whatever it takes. Brothers and Sisters, we will prevail.

 

For Release June 4, 2011
TCU's position regarding the UTU Tentative Agreement

UTU presented the Agreement to its General Chairmen at a meeting on June 2. The UTU reports that
the General Chairmen unanimously approved the Agreement. The UTU membership ratification process
is quite involved. The UTU estimates that ratification will not be concluded until possibly October this
year.


“We are in the process of analyzing the agreement from every angle, costing out every component,
including the health care changes they made. We are also talking to all the other unions in our
coalition and the RLBC to see if a common response can be achieved,” said TCU President Bob
Scardelletti. “Until that occurs, I am officially making no comment on the agreement. However, I did
want everyone to have a copy of the Agreement.” Click here to view the agreement.

For Release June 4, 2011
Record Pay Boost in UTU Tentative Rail Pact

A 17 percent pay increase, retention of the $200 monthly cap on healthcare cost-sharing, FRA certification pay, a faster process for new hires to reach full pay rates, and no rollback of the January 2011
cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) highlight the new five-year national rail agreement negotiated between the UTU and the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC).

Railroads represented by the NCCC include BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and many smaller railroads. Some 38,000 UTU members, including yardmasters, are covered by the tentative new agreement.

UTU District 1 general chairpersons voted unanimously June 2 to submit the tentative agreement to the membership for ratification under the craft autonomy provisions of the UTU constitution. The general
chairpersons also voted unanimously to recommend ratification.

General chairpersons now have until June 20 to submit questions regarding details of the tentative agreement. The questions will be submitted to the NCCC for answers. The agreed upon questions and answers will become part of the tentative contract submitted to the membership for ratification.

Additionally, forums will be scheduled nationwide at which UTU International officers will brief members on the contract's details and respond to member questions. A ratification vote will later be scheduled.

"In the 41-year history of the UTU, this wage increase is the highest in excess of the current and projected consumer price index," said UTU International President Mike Futhey. The Consumer Price Index, or CPI,
is a barometer of prices for goods and services as measured by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Combined with the previous agreement this administration reached with the NCCC in January 2008, our members will realize a more than 40 percent increase in their base wages at the conclusion of this
agreement, if it is ratified," Futhey said. "A UTU member earning $80,000 in 2007 will be earning about $112,000 on the same job by 2015."

The tentative agreement is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010, and extends through Dec. 31, 2014. The contract provides that retroactive pay, commencing with the July 1, 2010, increase, will be made by the carriers
within 60 days of the effective date of the final agreement.

The cap on employee healthcare cost contributions is a major provision of the tentative agreement. The $200 cap on monthly contributions compares with an average of more than $330 monthly paid by workers in other industries.

Without the negotiated $200 cap, and under provisions of current UTU agreements, UTU member healthcare cost contributions could soar to $355 monthly by 2015.

To retain the current $200 monthly cap, adjustments are made to copayments to reflect more economical ways to purchase medicines and reduce plan costs.

A new annual deductible is capped at $200 per individual ($400 per family), and an out-of-pocket maximum of $1,000 per individual ($2,000 per family) can be reached only if family medical costs exceed $40,000, which statistically affects only 2 percent of members.

The national rail agreement's five-year entry rates provision has been amended to four years. Individuals under the five-year plan -- as of May 1 and until the effective date of the final agreement -- will receive a
one-time $3,000 payment. Individuals on properties with modified service-scale rules will receive a one-time payment of $1,200. Individuals under entry-rate agreements that commence at 90 percent, and
increase to 100 percent within two years, shall not receive a bonus payment.

Additionally, the tentative agreement provides that local agreements may be negotiated -- not subject to binding arbitration if the sides cannot agree -- for alternative compensation, compensated leave, compensation enhancement, and electronic bidding and bumping.

Yardmasters have essentially the same agreement, but with additional pay increases unique to their craft.

For Release April 5, 2011
April Union Dues Assessment

This is to advise that due to unforeseen circumstances the $10 dues assessment effective April 2011, was not implemented in time to be deducted from the employees 1st half payroll in March which pays April’s dues.  Therefore, in order to collect the $10 assessment covering the month of April, the Norfolk Southern Payroll Department will deduct an additional $5 spread out over the next couple of months.  This additional $5 deduction will be reflected on the employees paycheck dated, April 8 and May 6.  Normal dues deductions which include the $10 assessment will resume effectively on the employees paycheck dated, June 3.

Fraternally yours,
Roger Cain
International Representative, Unit 200
 

For Release March 30, 2011
Railroad Retirement Informational Conference

The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board has scheduled an Informational Conference for Friday, June 3, 2011, from 8:00 AM. to 12:30 PM., at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites, 5120 Victory Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana 46203. The LaQuinta Inn is located on the southeast corner of the I-465/Emerson Avenue intersection on the south side of Indianapolis. Pre-registration is required by May 3, 2011. This conference is open to union officers, members and their spouses. You may download the registration form from the TCU's Online Library.

For Release February 23, 2011
Hazmat Training Classes

Please see attached letter as well as application forms from Assistant General President Alex Novakovic concerning the Hazmat training classes scheduled for this year. If you are a newly elected LC or committeeman and have not attended these classes, I highly recommend you seriously consider applying to attend one of these classes. You will note both classes do not pay the same expenses so pay close attention to the letter. It is usually customary for the local Lodge to help with some of the expenses. This is of course is contingent upon a vote of approval by the Local Lodge.

Upon approval from your Lodge, please do not waist any time getting your applications turned in as the classes fill up fast. We only have a limited number of slots designated for Carmen. Please be sure to follow AGP Novakovic's instructions for your application and note your elected/appointed position with the Union on the form. Please also provide me or Steve a copy of your application in order that we may help to secure you a spot. We would prefer to send Local Chairmen and Committeemen first. However, if you have already attended a HAZMAT class or can't attend these classes and an active Union member who regularly participates in Union functions you may also recommend them.

Please remember there is not a better way to spend a Union dollar than one spent on the education and safety of our membership.

Download the application form and schedule

Fraternally,

Roger E. Cain
International Representative, Unit 200


 

 

For Release January 28, 2011
National Mediation Board releases TCU

On January 26, 2011, the National Mediation Board (NMB) released TCU and all other Coalition unions from further mediated bargaining with the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR).

The release starts a 30 day clock running; at the end of which self-help by either side would be available commencing February 26, 2011. However, it is extremely likely that the White House will appoint a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) before the thirty days expire.

As these negotiations are covered by Section 9a of the Railway Labor Act, which govern commuter railroads, the Governor of Massachusetts can demand the creation of a PEB even if the White House doesn’t act.

Assuming a PEB is appointed before February 26, it would have thirty additional days to hold hearings and render its non-binding recommendations. However, under the protracted requirements of 9a, the parties could not resort to self-help until after a second PEB is convened and issues its recommendations. The entire process from beginning to end could take as long as 240 days.

“Our goal and that of the other coalition unions remains to reach a negotiated agreement,” says TCU President Bob Scardelletti. “No one wants to wait several more months for resolution, and we certainly want to settle this without a strike.”

“However, so far the company persists with unacceptable demands for major cost shifting in our health plans and insufficient wage increases,” adds Scardelletti. “Hopefully the NMB’s action in moving the process to the next step will influence MBCR to reconsider its position, because our members will settle for nothing less than a fair agreement.”

Three TCU crafts are bargaining on MBCR: Carmen, Clerks, and Supervisors. All were released. TCU has been bargaining with nine other unions in a Coalition. All were released. The PEB, when appointed, will involve all Coalition unions. The only MBCR unions not in the Coalition are UTU, which recently withdrew, and the BLE.

The releases followed TCU and the other Coalition unions’ rejection of the NMB’s offer of binding arbitration to settle the dispute. MBCR accepted the arbitration proffer, but under the law, both sides would have had to accept. “TCU and the Coalition collectively decided it was not in our best interest to have a contract determined by an arbitrator,” says President Scardelletti, “which would have deprived our members of having the chance to ratify it.”

Click here to read the NMB release letter for Clerks.

Click here to read the NMB release letter for Carmen.
 

 


 

 

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by Heartland Lodge 6760
Revised July 7, 2014
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