Engineers are frustrated with rails even as others get sick


OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) — Tens of thousands of engineers are frustrated by the lack of paid sick leave and negotiating demands railroads like BNSF are making.

of no time to be sick others Quality of life concerns regarding tight schedule Train crew jobs played a central role in last fall’s negotiations, which had previously reached the brink of a strike parliament intervened blocked the strike.

According to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen union, in addition to providing the basic benefits workers believe they are entitled to, rail companies still demand a lot in return for sick leave. It is said that there is

Rob Cunningham, one of BLET’s general chairmen who is leading the negotiations with the BNSF, said:

BLET’s frustrations generally extend to all major freight rail lines, but Cunningham said BNSF appeared to be acting particularly “hard-headed” in last week’s negotiations.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based railroad is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, and thousands of enthusiastic shareholders filled an arena in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday to hear him speak. It’s in the spotlight this weekend. I will answer the question.

Buffett didn’t face any questions about how BNSF treats its employees, but Buffett took a very non-interfering approach to Berkshire’s companies and, for the most part, gave them We run it ourselves. In the past, he has declined to be involved in labor negotiations at his subsidiary.

“You would think in something as simple as paid sick leave, he could just say: ‘Do it.’ you have to do this. This is the right thing to do,” Cunningham said of Buffett, who is also a prominent philanthropist.

“But obviously he doesn’t practice what he preaches,” said Cunningham.

BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent said the railroad had already reached agreements to provide sick leave for more than 6,000 employees in eight unions, adding: It is our intention to enter into a contract that covers the

Across the industry, CSX is took the lead by reaching Agreement At a time when most of the union was sick. Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific also announced several sick leave deals. Most of these deals provide the worker with her four days of paid sick leave, plus he has the option of converting three days of leave into sick leave, giving the worker a total of seven days of sick leave per year. is giving

“CSX is determined to ensure that all employees are valued, respected and valued, working as one team,” said spokesperson Sheriee Bowman. .

Most of the other deals announced focus on smaller unions doing maintenance and repair work along rails and generally with more regular schedules. • Transportation Workers’ Association’s Transportation Division—A contract was reached between NS and CSX that included the option to change five days of paid sick leave and two days of personal leave.

The Brotherhood, which represents track maintenance workers, was able to negotiate sick time contracts with UP, CSX and Norfolk Southern, but had to fight for its benefits without concessions.

Engineers’ unions have yet to reach an agreement on sick leave on either rail.

One of the main concerns remaining with BLET is that, even though railroad companies seem willing to give their technicians sick time, railroad companies generally have no responsibility for absenteeism under strict attendance policies. is what they want to impose on their workers. Therefore, even if a worker takes sick leave, CSX states that it will not punish workers for taking sick leave, but it is possible that they cannot use it freely because they will be punished for missing work. There is a nature.

“Engineers and conductors will have a choice between working sick or dealing with some of the most dangerous items transport groups handle, but they can either work sick or be subject to an attendance policy. Let’s.” Mark Wallace, BLET’s second-highest official.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said he tried unsuccessfully to pressure railroad companies to give their employees sick time and when Congress voted on the deal in December, he tried and failed.

Over a third of railway workers across the industry have already taken paid sick leave since the beginning of the year. In CSX and Norfolk Southern, the percentage of workers currently on sick leave is approaching two-thirds.

But more needs to be done and no concessions needed, Vermont independent media said.

“This should have been done years ago and it is too late for these companies to deliver these benefits now,” Sanders said.

Sanders said all the publicity the railroad company received last fall for refusing to provide sick time had their hands on it.

“Ultimately, what the railroad industry understood was that record profits and massive share buybacks were very difficult to defend, and that enough money for workers to do what was right and decent was not enough. You’re guaranteed sick leave,” Sanders said.

SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson said his union’s agreement with CSX and Norfolk Southern to ensure five days of sick leave could serve as a model for deals with other rail companies. said he wanted. But he’s also focused in recent years on freeing conductors from the strict attendance policy that calls them 24/7.

“That’s where we really butted heads with careers,” said Ferguson.

A deal SMART-TD signed with Norfolk Southern last week aims to help train conductors know holidays in advance. Norfolk Southern spokesman Thomas Closon said these new rules will help because conductors typically work six straight days and then take two days off, making their weekly schedules more predictable. Said it should.