Tentative Agreement

The attached letter was sent by the National President about the tentative agreement.

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Strike Vote Information

See attached link.

Ronnie

 

https://na2.documents.adobe.com/account/home

Strike Vote

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, June 22 — In a conference call held with all BLET General Chairmen today, National President Dennis R. Pierce announced that preparations are underway to poll members to authorize a strike in the event one becomes necessary to attain the Organization’s national bargaining goals.

The National Mediation Board released the BLET and all other Rail Labor unions from mediation with rail carriers on June 17, triggering a 30-day cooling off period, which expires at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 18, 2022. At that point, self-help is available to the parties, unless President Biden appoints a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) pursuant to Section 10 of the Railway Labor Act. A PEB would halt any strike or lockout by the parties, and would investigate and issue a report and recommendations concerning the dispute.

National President Pierce cautioned that conducting a strike vote does not necessarily mean a strike will occur. “While we anticipate that President Biden will appoint a Presidential Emergency Board near the deadline, we must be prepared for all eventualities,” he said. President Pierce further explained: “BLET members have been without a contract raise for nearly three years. The strike vote is an opportunity for all BLET members to deliver a unified message to the carriers that we deserve significant pay increases that recognize the essential contributions we make to their ongoing record profits. Please make your voice heard to help us secure the best contract possible.”

More details regarding the pending strike vote will be announced soon.

Ronnie

 

OLDHEADING UPDATE

   

I have been flooded with questions about the new LOU on Old Heading, I am going to try and answer as many as I can. If you still have questions feel free to ask. 

- Can a guy working west old head a job on the Joilet long pool (even though its in a different Zone) ? The simple answer is yes. No longer are they going to enforce these rules that were not agreed upon. If you are qualified to work the job and are working as an Engineer you can old-headed anything you have seniority to work. 

- This LOU clears up the fact you can not old head a job that it on duty or away from home right? Yes, it does, the only catch to this, and it goes back to the language in the 96 policy manual (the last one the organization agreed to) is that you must still protect your current assignment until that job you old-headed comes in or ties up. So yes if you wish to old head a yard job and its on duty you will be pended to it, yet if your assignment gets called to work you must still protect your current assignment. 

- When will these changes be made? They are made, the general chairman received notice that as of today the programing changes have been made. 

- Is this similar to the conductors where the turn must make a start or round trip first? NO, if it's a known vacancy regardless of the status of five days or more then the turn is available to be old-headed immediately. 

- There have been concerns that with this LOU on old heading the carrier is going to abuse the cross-zone rights, is that the case? No, The General Chairman has documented communication with the carrier this LOU will not change the way the zone rights are handled. This is by choice to cross zones for oldheading...

This change in the old heading is the first, we are working on another change to the process that will allow you to bid on known vacancies. There is still a lot to hammer out on this process and is several months away. I will keep everyone updated to the changes as they come. 

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Flipping and Overtime

Flipping and Overtime, has been another struggle for us and we have a solution. Labor is getting with timekeeping and in the next few days. They will be applying the agreement correctly.

 

What this means for you is, that when you are called to Deadhead to the AFHT and take a train back to the home terminal, your "day" for overtime calculation starts when you get on the train at the AFHT.

 

Likewise, when you take a train to the AFHT or don’t make the AFHT you stay on overtime till you get in the van.

 

Remember for everyone that flips or is used for HOS at the AFHT, REGARDLESS of where you are working you are entitled to waiting on limo time! 

 

It is very important to show your FRA CORRECTLY! Timekeeping is using your FRA records to determine when your overtime starts and stops. The changes within timekeeping are going to take some time until this is programmed if you are in this situation use a non-service claim if your overtime is offset.

FREE DAY ON THE EXTRA BOARD

Free Day for Extra Boards - For those of you on the extra boards, you know the pain of getting a free day denied. The problem with the free day, CMS created this status of FD to allow extra board employees to have the day of a half. However, the fight we have been in for quite some time is the agreement language states you are allowed one (24-hour period) per half if you are not first out at the time of the layoff and the layoff is between 12:01 Monday and concluded by 1159 Thursday. If the layoff is within this criteria the engineer only loses his Bonus day.  

 

In the past CMS has taken the position they can refuse the FD request, we have been very successful in getting claims paid if an engineer only has one layoff regardless of status (LS, LK, LP, etc) getting the day of guarantee reinstated and paid out to the engineer. 

 

The good news is this week we made some headway with Labor and CMS they are going to get the programming together to allow the FD on EAMS and it CAN NOT be denied! 

 

There are some programming issues for the carrier to overcome and should be available in the soon future.

Fatigue Survey

Brothes and Sisters, this is not a UP survey, it is being done by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.   Please take the time to fill our the survey as this may help get some relief from our draconian attendance policy.  

Ronnie Rhodes

 

Fatigue Survey

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9 — The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), working in collaboration with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, is asking locomotive engineers and conductors to participate in a confidential survey regarding fatigue.

The goal of the research study is to better understand the factors that contribute to fatigue in locomotive engineers and conductors. To participate, you must be a current locomotive engineer or conductor on either a freight or passenger service.

Officials with Virginia Tech stress that the survey is anonymous and will not collect any personally identifying information. According to the survey’s creators: “Your contribution to this research is valuable. Assessing the important factors that contribute to fatigue and the impact these factors have on locomotive engineer and/or conductor safety is necessary to find solutions that benefit rail workers, management and the industry. This information is a critical first step in developing fatigue-mitigation strategies for locomotive engineers and conductors.”

“We believe it is helpful for outside organizations, including academic institutions like Virginia Tech, to get information directly from our members. This survey provides a way for that to happen. BLET will always try to ensure our members have the opportunity to provide vital fatigue data for researchers,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said.

The survey should take 10-15 minutes to complete, but respondents can take as much time as they wish. It is available at:

https://survey.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6PPxWtBGxVzZaCh

 

Notice of Election

 Please see notice of election link to see how and who can vote, etc.

 

Ronnie Rhodes

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Candidates Forum

Please open link to see information about a candidates forum to be held September 1, 2021.

 

Ronnie Rhodes

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Targeting Claims Settlement

Brothers, please see attached settlement on Targeting Claims and the HAHT associated therewith.

 

Ronnie Rhodes

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IBT Delegate Election Results for BLETD 490

Brothers and Sisters,

Our General Committee has elected Wayne Denson of Little Rock, by acclamation, to be our delegate to the IBT Convention to be held in July of this  year.  Also elected by acclamation was Brian Young of St. Louis, Brian is to serve as our alternate delegate, if needed.

Please see nomination meeting Form 37 posted pursuant to IBT rules, attached for you reference.

Thanks,

Ronnie Rhodes

 

 

 

 

 

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Nomination Notice BLETD 490

Brothers and Sisters, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is suggested that all nominations be sent in writing or to the designated email account in case there is a sudden regulation that would inhibit our ability to have an in person meeting.

Thanks for your understanding.

 

Ronnie Rhodes

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IBT Election Plan Summary

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Attendance Appeals

Brothers and Sisters,

Our BLET Central Region Committee of Adjustments (GCA) has sought court action since the implementation of UP's latest Attendance Policy based on a point system per layoff.

In conjunction with the lawsuit we will also be appealing any layoff for each member that had points assessed to him/her.  What we need from the member is to print off their attendance history off the MYUP screen, put your employee ID number on it and put it in your divisions box at 6400 Martin.  Your attendance monitor will print out a 90 day snapshot.  If you have had points assessed in the past 60 days print it off and put it in the box.  Going forward every layoff you get assessed points you will need to print it off and put it in the box.  The local chairman will scan it and send it to the GCA to get appealed.

We will be fighting this attendance policy at every angle we can.  Your Local Chairman can not see your attendance history so we need the members participation to get the information to us so we can appeal these.

Any questions please contact your Local Chairman    

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Locomotive Daily Inspection Checklist

Brothers and Sisters,

The implementation of PSR on Union Pacific has caused a reduction in the mechanical forces that have historically done the required daily inspections on our locomotives.  The daily inspections are more frequently being done by our Locomotive Engineers that have not been trained to do the inspections. 

Our General Committee has created a checklist for our Locomotive Engineers to use when they have been instructed to do the daily inspections.  This checklist was created using the Air Brake and Train Handling Rules currently in effect, always verify there have been no changes to these rules.   

We are currently in the process of distributing the checklist to your BLET Local Chairman.

You will still file a basic day penalty claim for doing the locomotive inspection where there are mechanical forces on duty. 

Ronnie Rhodes

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

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

Teamster Election Information

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Teamster Election Translations

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