Shippers fear more service problems as harvest approaches without a rail contract
“SMART-TD leaders made our case to PEB in July that our membership and that of other unions deserved better, particularly in recognition of what we accomplished before, during and after the pandemic. Our position has not changed, and we have not held back. We are and will continue to fight for each of our members, striving for the best A possible outcome in everything we engage in,” Ferguson said. Here is a link to his full statement and factual information of the SMART Department of Intelligent Transportation based strictly on PEB recommendations: https://smart-union.org/…
The Brotherhood of Rail Signals (BRS), which represents more than 6,500 members working for the country’s freight railroads in the national collective bargaining, issued a statement on August 18 regarding the PEB 250 report.
“While wage adjustments are the highest in recent history, they are still less than what our members have earned through their hard work keeping America moving despite numerous obstacles. Not recognizing the need for sick days is troubling when continuing to lay down their lives, and their families’ lives, on the line during the COVID pandemic, without any sick days.Most importantly, we are disappointed, on the presentation of the many statements from our members regarding their increased responsibility, territories, testing along with technical knowledge, PEB refused to speak to their voice and our special request Literally BRS remains committed to listening to our members and fighting for their best interests.
“BRS believes that improvements must be made to the recommendations to reach the agreement our members have. We remain committed to standing in solidarity with our members and rail workers to resolve this contract dispute with the NCCC. We will plan to meet with the NCC and negotiate based on Board recommendation, just as we have done in the past.”
The Brotherhood of Road Maintenance, the Personnel Division of the International Brotherhood of Truck Drivers (BMWED) said in a press release on August 18 that they have not yet reached an agreement with the carriers based on PEB’s recommendations. “We intend to meet with the National Coordinating Committee to discuss these recommendations more thoroughly and, if an agreement can be reached, how to implement them. If that happens, any agreement reached will be sent to members for ratification. Unions in the bargaining coalition are also grappling with the information in the recommendations Our options for the way forward are considered. The Board’s recommendation is just another step in the bargaining process, and we must carefully examine and chart a course forward with the information we require. I have received.”
Another major sticking point in the negotiations was the railways’ proposal to reduce train crews from two to one. Unions are fiercely opposed to the move, not only to protect jobs but also because they say they are concerned with safety. On July 28, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced a proposed rule that would require at least two train crew members for rail operations across the roads, but railroads have continued to push for change as they say a new automatic braking system could stop Trains in certain circumstances make the presence of a second person in the cabin unnecessary. Here is the DTN story about the FRA rule proposal: https://www.dtnpf.com/…
In light of current rail service issues (which could worsen if a contract settlement is not reached by September 15), the Surface Transportation Board (STB) has sent a letter to Class 1 railroads stating that the Board is “particularly interested in your reports regarding your readiness.” To meet the requirements of the fall harvest as it begins to increase in September and extends through the end of the year.As you know, in light of the current challenges affecting the four largest Class A railways, the Council is concerned about the ability of Class A railways to meet the freight needs of the Class A railways. Grain and focuses heavily on whether the railways have enough crew, locomotive, equipment and capacity resources along the main corridors that support domestic and international markets,” the letter noted.
Remember, the Board of Directors, in response to the broad issues described by all rail freight companies at its April 26 and 27 hearings, issued an order requiring the four largest US railroads — BNSF, CSX, NSR, and UP — to submit service recovery plans that would specifically describe Their main remedial initiatives promotes a clearer view of operating conditions on the rail network. In a June 13 press release on STB’s website, STB said the four carriers had submitted plans that were “routine and lacking the level of detail assigned to the Board’s order.”
Board Chairman Martin Obermann said, “While railroads must always comply with Board orders, it is particularly troubling that railroads have failed to comply with the order requiring them to provide appropriate service recovery plans. Under circumstances where the service does not meet the needs of Customers, this is not much to ask of highly sophisticated companies with important public responsibilities. I had expected a better response from carriers to the previous board’s order, and now with clearer instructions, which were not needed, there would be no excuse for this continued non-compliance” .
“Cargo rail is critical to our nation’s economy, and we must ensure that railroads do everything they can to transport goods essential to public welfare, such as animal feed, food ingredients, fuel products and fertilizers, and critical chemicals,” Oberman added.
On September 16 at 12:01 a.m., if no contract is signed, we could witness a rail strike, which could paralyze any industry that relies on rail to transport its goods.
This is a copy of the full PEB 250 report: https://www.docdroid.net/…
Below is the PEB 250 Report and Recommendations PowerPoint that was jointly prepared by BLET and SMART -TD in relation to the PEB 250 Recommendations: https://www.blet104.org/…
Here is a link to an August 19 letter from STB to members of the National Grain Car Board’s Class 1 railroad regarding the fall harvest and links to rail service data: https://www.stb.gov/…
Mary Kennedy can be reached at Mary.Kennedy@dtn.com
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