KW Mason
Assoc. General Chairman
JL Schollmeyer
General Chairman

DL Allard
Asst. General 


LR Miller
1st Vice General Chairman

General Committee of Adjustments GO-386

RJ Johnston
2nd Vice General 

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New rates of pay become effective Sept. 16, 2011

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 for ratification.

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 later.

"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 other industries.

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 payment.

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 below:

National rail agreement

To view a comparison of historic general wage increases to the Consumer Price Index, click here.

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 month.

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,

Yours truly,

/s/J.L. Schollmeyer
General Chairman


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Last Updated on 11/4/09