In this file:


·         Rail Unions Hold Firm on Issues and Finally Reach Tentative Agreement

·         Rail Shippers Applaud Labor Deal, Seek Rapid Ratification



Market Matters Blog

Rail Unions Hold Firm on Issues and Finally Reach Tentative Agreement


By Mary Kennedy, DTN/Progressive Farmer 



Rail contract negotiations have been a struggle for nearly three years between the 12 rail unions and the U.S. Class 1 railroads. Finally, in the early morning hours of Sept. 15, the three unions that had been holding out and planned to strike at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 16, announced they reached a tentative agreement with the railroads, averting the walkout.


The negotiations became contentious after the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) created by President Joe Biden on July 15, 2022, released its recommendations for a contract settlement. The report, while it was a vast improvement over the railroads' previous proposals, did not go far enough "to provide members with the quality of life that they have earned, and that both they and their families deserve," said SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy R. Ferguson on Aug. 18.


As the cooling off period neared an end on Sept. 15, the two largest rail unions Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD) along with the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS), refused to accept the PEB 250 unless improvements were made to the working conditions that have been on the bargaining table since negotiations began nearly three years ago.


On Sept. 14, the heads of the unions and representatives for the railroads met with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh in Washington in an attempt to reach an agreement. Finally, on the morning of Sept. 15, the leadership of BLET, SMART-TD, and BRS reached a tentative agreement with the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC), the representative for the Class 1 railroads.


The tentative agreement includes wage increases, bonuses, and no increases to insurance copays and deductibles. The agreement calls for an immediate wage increase of 14% once compounded with an additional 4% on July 1, 2023, and 4.5% on July 1, 2024. In addition, wage increases of 3% effective July 1, 2020, 3.5% effective July 1, 2021, and 7% effective July 1, 2022, will be fully retroactive, for a compounded increase of 24% over the five-year term of the agreement. The press release about the agreement added that there also will be annual lump-sum bonus payments totaling $5,000...





Rail Shippers Applaud Labor Deal, Seek Rapid Ratification

Before tentative agreement was reached, railroads had started halting some shipments to prepare for a potential strike


By Paul Page, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)

Sept. 15, 2022


Groups representing big rail shippers said Thursday’s tentative railroad-labor contract avoids potential turmoil in their supply chains and they are hoping for rapid ratification by union members to fully ease the labor tensions.


“We are relieved and cautiously optimistic that this devastating nationwide rail strike has been averted,” said National Retail Federation President and Chief Executive Matthew Shay.


“We hope railway workers will accept the new terms of the proposed contract and the railway system can continue to operate on behalf of the millions of hardworking Americans who rely on it for their jobs and the economic security of our country,” Mr. Shay said in a statement...


more, with subscription