This is why the rail strike deal could still be ‘problematic’
Right a lot of americans bring this high relief this week on word that a big nationwide railroad strike affecting 115 000 workers uh was all solved but you know it’s formerly not been approved there’s a process to this getting all the unions and key members on board dennis pierce is the brotherhood of the locomotive engineers and trainmen.
President so we got the big cheese and dennis kind enough to join us how does it look from your vantage point dennis well the process will start this week will involve sending the tentative agreement out to our the principal officers of our bargaining units on each railroad that will then create a question and answer period.
Where they seek clarifications we will return to meetings with the railroads to finalize the final document that’ll actually be what would then be put out to the membership so we’re a few weeks away from actually putting this thing out to the field we will then make sure our membership fully explains everything that’s in it everything that’s not in it.
And then it’ll go to their vote for a membership ratification now this one um uh union i think the day before up that 5000 member union that had rejected it it was that essentially the same deal or it had been sweetened enough that this go around they would approve it.
That was one of the unions that was part of our bargaining coalition throughout the process the operating crafts as we call them the brotherhood locomotive engineers entrainment and smart transportation had some different recommendations come out of the presidential emergency board so we were i would say slightly situated.
Differently but the core issues like wages and health care were similar in their agreement in ours um now we’re told we will likely avert this and that would be great news but that it it it doesn’t automatically solve some of the supply chain issues we have through no fault of your members of course that’s just the.
Reality of the situation how do you see that going in in the months ahead at least now we’ve got ongoing active railway transportation happening here but i wonder because given the fact that uh these realities are still out there that it could be a problematic time yes it could uh the railroad labor act.
Is very unique uh those that work under it have different rules for contract bargaining uh we have extended the cooling off period uh once we’ve exhausted all the steps of the railway labor act if we had not had agreement by friday morning either the carriers could have their own carriers could have locked us out or our.
Members could have struck having a tentative agreement for stalls that but the the if we do not ratify those those options come back available sometime in december more than likely but again the process that we have uh requires us to let the membership decide this and i will tell you that during the pandemic these guys went to work every.
Day they were the essential workers that kept the supply chain moving uh the railroads are understaffed right now they’re having a hard time hiring and that’s led to overworking or more shifts pushed on these existing employees so labor relations are an all-time low we’re trying to improve that by providing for the first time ever more.
Time off predictable time off for these guys by their contract have any of them ever wanted to become truckers then because i didn’t see trucking taking a big advantage of this and they’re they’re still wanting for workers well again the the short staffed has really frustrated folks we’re hoping.
That the contract makes the jobs more attractive makes it easier to hire and we get the workforce staff properly to where we go back to running the supply chain like it should because the rails are an integral part of that supply chain dennis i know you probably had very little sleep this past week so we.
Appreciate that dennis pierce the brotherhood of locomotive engineers the trainment president key player negotiating with the president united states secretary of transportation labor