Sunday, December 4, 2022
HomeAll Ch00 Ch00 NewsConductors reject contract agreement, while engineers ratify deal with Class I railroads

Conductors reject contract agreement, while engineers ratify deal with Class I railroads

SMART-TD union enters cooling off period facing Dec. 8 deadline to reach an agreement with the Class I railroads.

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ailroad employees picket outside the North American Rail Shippers conference in Kansas City on May 10, 2022 to protest working conditions. The railroads and four unions representing their employees are heading toward a December strike deadline. David Lassen

Engineers and conductors have rendered a split decision in their respective union votes over the tentative agreements reached with the U.S. Class I railroads, the unions said this morning.

By the slimmest of margins, conductors represented by the SMART-TD union rejected the deal, fueling the prospects of a nationwide strike that could begin as soon as Dec. 9. Some 50.87% of voting members rejected the agreement.

Yet the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen ratified their agreement, as did yardmasters represented by SMART-TD. Some 53.5% of engineers backed the deal, along with 62.4% of yardmasters.

Turnout was a record for both unions, reflecting the contentious relationship between railroads and the rank and file.

SMART-TD will enter a cooling-off period and resume negotiations with the National Carriers Conference Committee that represents the railroads.

“SMART-TD members with their votes have spoken, it’s now back to the bargaining table for our operating craft members,” said SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson. “This can all be settled through negotiations and without a strike. A settlement would be in the best interests of the workers, the railroads, shippers and the American people.”

The cooling off period runs through Dec. 8, making Dec. 9 the earliest the union could strike or railroads could lock out employees.

“The ball is now in the railroads’ court. Let’s see what they do. They can settle this at the bargaining table,” Ferguson said. “But, the railroad executives who constantly complain about government interference and regularly bad-mouth regulators and Congress now want Congress to do the bargaining for them.”

 

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