James R Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund

Brothers and Sisters,

 

If you have college age children you can go to www.jrhmsf.org to find the online application.  

 

Ronnie Rhodes

Ballots on the Way

BLET mails ballots for Tentative National Agreement

Balloting has begun for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen’s (BLET) tentative national agreement with the National Carriers’ Conference Committee, which governs rates of pay, benefits and work rules for over 25,000 locomotive engineers and trainmen.

On November 9, 2017, ballots, instructions, and a synopsis of the agreement were mailed to locomotive engineer members working for the following railroads:

• Belt Railway Company of Chicago;
• BNSF Railway Company;
• Consolidated Rail Corporation;
• CSX Transportation, Inc.;
• Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Company;
• Kansas City Southern Railway Company (including Kansas City Southern Railway, Louisiana and Arkansas Railway, MidSouth Rail Corporation, Gateway Western Railway, SouthRail Corporation, and Texas Mexican Railway Company);
• Longview Switching Company;
• Norfolk Southern Railway Company;
• Portland Terminal Railroad Company;
• Soo Line Railroad Company;
• Union Railroad Company;
• Union Pacific Railroad Company; and
• Winston Salem Southbound Railway Company.

Ballots, instructions, and a synopsis of the agreement also were mailed to conductor and trainmen members working for the Texas Mexican Railway Company.

Voting will conclude on Thursday, November 30. Members who have not received a ballot by Wednesday, November 15, should request a replacement by calling the BLET National Division at (216) 241-2630, ext. 222. When connected with the extension, please leave the following information:

• your name, address and phone number;
• the division to which you belong;
• the railroad for which you work; 
• the date you were promoted to locomotive engineer;
• your date of birth; and
• the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Members also have the option of leaving their e-mail address if they wish their ballot, instructions and synopsis e-mailed to them instead of receiving it via first-class mail. However, e-mail requests for ballots will not be accepted because personal information is required to verify eligibility before a ballot can be issued.

BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce encouraged all eligible members to closely review the ratification packet and other materials being made available online. “This has been a particularly difficult bargaining round and your Advisory Board recommends that you vote YES on the proposal before you,” President Pierce said. “Voting on your union contract and deciding your own future is one of the benefits of belonging to a Union. I encourage all eligible members to become educated on the issues and to participate in this most important process of union democracy.”

The BLET reached the Tentative National Agreement as part of a coalition with five other unions. The Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) is comprised of: the American Train Dispatchers Association; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (a Division of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers; the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers / SEIU; and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers. Collectively, the CBG unions represent more than 85,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 58% of the workforce that will be impacted by the outcome of the current bargaining round.

Proposed National Agreement

Brothers and Sisters,

The ballots for the proposed National Agreement will be mailed soon.  As most of you know our General Committee supports this proposal along with all the other BLET General Committees across the country.  

I have seen some negative comments along with complete misinformation on this proposal on social media.  I feel it is my responsibility to inform you with the correct information before you vote.  I had previously posted my thoughts on the proposal on this our website and that post is still available to view.  

If you have any questions please ask your BLET Local Chairman and we will get you an answer.

Thanks

Ronnie Rhodes

 

 

FSA OPEN ENROLLMENT

Health FSA open enrollment for 2018 continues through October 31

 
 
 

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, October 18 — Open enrollment for the Health Flexible Spending Account Plan (FSA) 2018 benefit year is available for just over two more weeks, concluding on October 31, 2017. It is important to note that members must enroll in the Health FSA every year — FSA enrollment is not automatic each year so interested members should act soon so they do not miss out on enrollment for the 2018 Plan Year.

This important health care benefit was secured by the BLET in the 2012 National Agreement. At least 7.5% of eligible engineers must participate in the FSA Plan in the 2018 Plan Year, and subsequent Plan Years, or the Carriers will have the right to terminate the plan.

Except as noted at the end of this paragraph, locomotive engineers and Tex-Mex train service employees covered by the Health & Welfare portion of the most recent National Agreement, dated January 5, 2012, are eligible to participate in the FSA Plan. The national FSA is distinct and separate from the on-property BNSF FSA Plan. The participation rates identified in this News Flash do not apply to BNSF engineers, and BNSF engineers are not required to participate in the open enrollment described in this News Flash. Also, BLET members subject to the September 16, 2011 UTU National Agreement are currently eligible to participate in the Health FSA program provided for in that Agreement.

To Register

You must enroll online by logging in to the Your Track to Health website:
www.yourtracktohealth.com/

Once logged in, look to the upper-left corner of the screen and select the option to “ENROLL NOW for 2018.” New users may have to complete a brief registration process.

For additional information, please see the BLET News Flash dated September 26, 2017:
www.ble-t.org/pr/news/newsflash.asp?id=6002

Again, open enrollment ends at midnight on Tuesday, October 31, 2017!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
bentley@ble-t.org

CBG LETTER

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Information on Proposed Agreement Ratification

Brothers and Sisters of the BLET Central Region,

I attended a meeting in Cleveland where the current tentative agreement was reviewed by all the BLET General Chairmen.  I supported the National President's decision to put this agreement before the membership for a ratification vote.  I want you to be informed when your ballots arrive so I will lay out the facts in an attempt to help you make an informed decision.

If we vote against the proposed agreement, please understand that all previous offers, including, but not limited to, the tentative agreement are off the negotiating table. We will be assigned a Presidential Emergency Board by the President of the United States.  The parties will start with their original positions.

I have a link to PEB 219 so you can see how the Carrier's told the board that their employees are overpaid and how they needed changes in work rules to compete with the trucking industry.  Please take the time to read this PEB, you can read for yourself how the Carrier’s tried to justify freezing our wages and gaining work rule concessions in PEB 219.

http://bletupcr.org/PEB219.pdf

You will also find where "cost sharing" became part of your healthcare package among other changes.

Changes could also be made that standardize some our local agreements that bring all Engineers under the same National Agreement. 

Currently, our General Committee has one of the best vacation allocation agreements in the rail industry. 

We are one of two General Committees that do not have to qualify for Personal Leave Days. (Just be marked up and in OK status)

We are the only General Committee that can bank 200 Personal Leave Days for retirement or emergencies. 

Our General Committee has also obtained lodging for engineers forced over 100 miles from their home terminal. 

Our General Committee has in place arbitration awards backed by a court decision that prohibit the Union Pacific from using Article IX to modify the runs that were agreed to in the Hub negotiations.

We have fought hard for these agreements, awards and court decisions.  

Lots of misinformation out in the field right now.  

Below is the definition of a PEB.  I made the last paragraph bold for a reason.  I do not want the Congress to write our agreement; they know nothing about railroading.  

  

1. What is a PEB?

Presidential Emergency Board

If either labor or management decline voluntary arbitration, or if in the opinion of the NMB the continuance of the controversy threatens substantially to interrupt interstate commerce in any section of the nation, the NMB is required to notify the President of the United States, who may, at his discretion, create a fact-finding Presidential Emergency Board.

The parties must maintain the status quo (no strikes or lockouts) for 30 days. If the president chooses not to appoint an emergency board, strikes or lockouts may occur after the 30-day cooling-off period.

Emergency boards are comprised of neutral members whose job is to make an investigation and submit to the president, within 30 days of its creation, a fact-finding report with non-binding recommendations for procedures or terms on which a dispute might be settled. During this period, the parties must maintain the status quo (a second 30-day cooling-off period).

Upon submission of the PEB report, the parties are required to maintain the status quo for an additional, or third 30-day cooling-off period (they may mutually agree to extend the period of status quo). The non-binding recommendations of the PEB are expected to carry the weight of public opinion and induce a voluntary agreement among the parties.

At this point, the RLA has run its course. If no agreement has been reached, either side becomes free to act in its own economic interests -- a work stoppage (or strike) by labor, a lockout by management, or unilateral implementation of management proposals (that generally would force a work stoppage).

However, Congress frequently imposes its own settlement. Such congressional action is not part of the RLA. The constitutional authority for Congress to impose its own settlements is found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution's commerce clause.

 

Below is a quote from Referee Robert Harris.  

Arbitrator Robert O. Harris told the United Transportation Union (UTU) and railroads in 1991, then unable to agree at the bargaining table, “Welcome to the oldest established craps game in Washington. Like the suckers in ‘Guys and Dolls,’ you are risking your futures on the roll of the dice [when you fail to make a voluntary agreement].” This was from a copy of Railway Age. 

 

I hope you find this informative and useful.

 

Ronnie Rhodes

 

 

BLET General Chairman

Brother Gordon Long

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Teamster Election Information

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PDF icon Second Candidate Forum227.92 KB

Teamster Election Translations

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Teamster Election

OFFICE OF THE ELECTION SUPERVISOR

for the INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS

1050 17th Street, NW, Suite 375

Washington, DC 20036 202-429–8683

844-428-8683 Toli Free 202-774-5526 FacSimile

ElectionSupervisor(a)ibtvote.org

www.ibtvote.org

RiGHARD W. MARK Election Supervisor

GENERAL PRESIDENT CANDIDATES FORUM

LIVE ON THE INTERNET

WHEN: August 25, 2016, 6:30 pm (EDT)

WHERE: National Press Club

WHO:

529 14th Street, NW, 13th Floor Washington, D.C. 20045

A limited number of tickets are available to attend the Candidates Forum, in person. Contact the candidates for information on tickets.

Fred Zuckerman, candidate for IBT General President on the Teamsters United Slate

Ken Hall, candidate for IBT General Secretary-Treasurer on the Hoffa-Hall 2016 Slate

(Jim Hoffa, candidate for IBT General President on the Hoffa-Hall 2016 Slate has designated Mr. Hall to appear as his representative at the Candidates Forum. 2016 Election Rules, Article VII, Section 6(d))

WATCH: Watch LIVE at https://facebook.com/teamsters or https://teamster.org. The

internet audience will be able to submit questions that may be posed to the candidates during the Forum.

Watch the Forum later, or read the transcript, at www.ibtvote.org.

CHECK WWW.IBTVOTE.ORG FOR UPDATES ABOUT THE GENERAL PRESIDENT CANDIDATES FORUM

This is an official notice prepared and approved by Richard W. Mark, Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. It must

remain posted on this bulletin board through August 31, 2016 and must not be defaced or covered up.

Rule 2.21

Rule 2.21 Electronic Devices Changes

I received this email from the Portland Service Unit. 

Good Afternoon Team,

Today we received the new SSI that will go into effect on May 2, 2016. In looking at the changes I found one that will impact us and our past practices.  Please review Rule 2.21 Electronic devises.  The major parts that you need to know about the change are as follows.  

Personal Electronic devices must be powered off with any ear piece removed from the ear, and properly stowed whileON DUTY.

After conducting a safety briefing with all crew members and agree the limited use of the device is safe to do so.  Cell phone can only be use for voice communication (no texting, social media, etc )

An operating employee may use an electronic device when:

1.        Deadheading in a non controlling unit or automobile.

2.        In a crew room to update rules or other documents specified in SSI Item 7-A or other required company provided electronic media only.

We used to be able to use a cell phone while on duty in a crew room.  The way the rules department has outlined rule 2.21 this will no longer be allowed.  When coming on duty your device must be stowed away and turned off.   We are communicating this change in an effort to spread the word as quickly as possible.  Should there be any updates or changes to this rule again in the coming weeks I will be sure to get them to you as well.  The service unit will be conducting a communication stand down in the coming weeks to help bring attention to this change as well.

 

I have talked to the head of rules in Omaha and this is the position that is being taken.  While in the crew room your are not allowed to text, play games, be on social media, surf the web, etc.  The second bullet on the email is the only time the cellphone can be utilized to the internet.  This can only happen after there is a job briefing with all crew members.  This rule is considered a critical rule and a violation will result in MAPS. 

Vacation Settlement Award

Brothers and Sisters,

 

Please check your web page for an important new award.

 

Ronnie

MAPS

Brothers and Sisters,

Our Committee has sent letters to the UP about MAPS and they have responded, you can view these letters on you respective Hub pages.

Ronnie

Restricted Medications

Brothers and Sisters,

There is a new list of restricted medications. You can find this list on your Hub Web Page. 

Thanks

Ronnie

New Discipline Policy

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State Legislative Chairmen

All of our State Board Chairman now have access to a page.  The exception to the group is the Illnois State Chairman has their own website.  Just click on Illionis and it take you to their page.

Local Chairmen Email

Brothers and Sisters,

Your Local Chairman's email address is now found on the contact tab of the GCA website.  Don't forget to send them your email address so you won't get locked out of the websites for your Hubs.  We will be locking down soon as our Webmaster is going on vacation for 4 weeks so if you don't make the cut you will be locked out until he returns from vacation.

GCA website page in case you forgot.      bletupcr.org

Website Access

Brothers and Sisters,

Please make sure your Local Chairman has your correct email address, you will lose access to the web page if we don't have your email.   You will be required to Login to the page witha user id and password.

Thanks in advance,

Ronnie

 

 

Warning

If you are called and subsequently released the computer will ask you if you have been called and released. Do not falsely answer this question, new programming is going to catch those employees who have been called and released, then check no to the answer if they were called and released.  Lying about the call and release, tying up and going home at the bottom of the board is going to get serious.  Do not be the person caught in this situation, if less than 4 hours, you should go first out.  If over 4 hours then you go to the bottom of the board.  This is an advance warning, please spread the word.

Ronnie Rhodes

 

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