New rates of pay become effective Sept. 16,
The new national rail contract and its
increased rates of pay become effective September 16, 2011.
September 16, 2011 is also the trigger date from which the carriers are
pledged to make retroactive wage payments within 60 days.
Health care changes will be implemented after January 1, 2012.
Record pay boost in UTU tentative rail pact
A 17-percent pay increase, retention of the $200 monthly
cap on health care cost sharing, FRA certification pay, a faster process
for new hires to reach full pay rates, and no rollback of the January
2011 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) highlight the new five-year
national rail agreement negotiated between the UTU and the National
Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC).
Railroads represented by the NCCC include BNSF, CSX, Kansas City
Southern, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and many smaller railroads.
Some 38,000 UTU members, including yardmasters, are covered by the
tentative new agreement.
UTU District 1 general chairpersons voted unanimously June 2 to submit
the tentative agreement to the membership for ratification under the
craft autonomy provisions of the UTU Constitution. The general
chairpersons also voted unanimously to recommend ratification.
General chairpersons now have until June 20 to submit questions
regarding details of the tentative agreement. The questions will be
submitted to the NCCC for answers. The agreed-upon questions and answers
will become part of the tentative contract submitted to the membership
Additionally, forums will be scheduled nationwide at which UTU
International officers will brief members on the contract's details and
respond to member questions. A ratification vote will be scheduled
"In the 41-year history of the UTU, this wage increase is the highest in
excess of the current and projected Consumer Price Index," said UTU
International President Mike Futhey. The Consumer Price Index, or CPI,
is a barometer of prices for goods and services as measured by the
federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"Combined with the previous agreement this administration reached with
the NCCC in January 2008, our members will realize a more than
40-percent increase in their base wages at the conclusion of this
agreement, if it is ratified," Futhey said. "A UTU member earning
$80,000 in 2007 will be earning about $112,000 on the same job by 2015."
The tentative agreement is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010, and extends
through Dec. 31, 2014. The contract provides that retroactive pay,
commencing with the July 1, 2010, increase, will be made by the carriers
within 60 days of the effective date of the final agreement.
The cap on employee health care cost contributions is a major provision
of the tentative agreement. The $200 cap on monthly contributions
compares with an average of more than $330 monthly paid by workers in
Without the negotiated $200 cap, and under provisions of current UTU
agreements, UTU member health care cost contributions could soar to $355
monthly by 2015.
To retain the current $200 monthly cap, adjustments will be made to
copayments to reflect more economical ways to purchase medicines and
reduce plan costs.
A new annual deductible is capped at $200 per individual ($400 per
family), and an out-of-pocket maximum of $1,000 per individual ($2,000
per family) can be reached only if family medical costs exceed $40,000,
which statistically affects only 2 percent of members.
The national rail agreement's 5-year entry rates provision has been
amended to 4 years. Individuals under the 5-year plan -- as of May 1 and
until the effective date of the final agreement -- will receive a
one-time $3,000 payment. Individuals on properties with modified
service-scale rules will receive a one-time payment of $1,200.
Individuals under entry-rate agreements that commence at 90 percent, and
increase to 100 percent within 2 years, shall not receive a bonus
Additionally, the tentative agreement provides that local agreements may
be negotiated -- not subject to binding arbitration if the sides cannot
agree -- for alternative compensation, compensated leave, compensation
enhancement, and electronic bidding and bumping.
The UTU national negotiating team, in addition to Futhey, included
Assistant President Arty Martin; National Legislative Director James
Stem; UTU International Vice Presidents Robert Kerley and Delbert Strunk;
and General Chairpersons John Lesniewski (CSX, GO 049), Pate King (NS,
GO 680) and Doyle Turner (CSX, GO 347).
To read the tentative national agreements, select one of the links
To view a comparison of historic general wage increases
to the Consumer Price Index,
May 6, 2011
David L. Freeman
Vice President, Transportation
Network Operations Center (NOC)-2W
BNSF Railway Company
2600 Lou Menk Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76131
Re: Employee Safety and Rules Compliance
Dear Mr. Freeman:
Several years ago, my predecessor requested that Dave Dealy provide him
with 1,500 crystal balls to give to BNSF employees. The request was due
to poor lineups and a malfunctioning crew calling system. At the time,
Mr. Fitzgerald’s main concern was quality of life. Today, I have a
bonafide concern for the safety of BNSF employees under the jurisdiction
of this office.
Routinely, pool turns are paper deadheaded and placed to the bottom of
the pool, causing the employees to be called as much as eighteen (18)
hours in advance of posted lineups. Attached is recent correspondence
between Crew Support and myself addressing the programming errors and
the hardship it has caused to employees in the Minot/Dilworth pool.
Trinidad pool employees regularly reach their maximum hours for the
New hires train in one location and upon completion of their training
are forced to another terminal and expected to perform their duties in
the same fashion as an employee with ten (10) years of service.
The BNSF has made it very clear their position on authority violations
and deadly decisions. It is sad that management failed to create an
environment that ensures that employees are fully alert and attentive.
I have sent a letter (attached) to the
UTU leadership under the jurisdiction of this office to refrain from
Participating in Safety Marathons and Enhanced Safety Training until
manpower levels are at a point where paper deadheading has ceased and
our members can have reasonable time off.
With best wishes, I am,