National Bargaining Update -- April 4, 2016

Published: Apr 4 2016 2:04PM

The BMWED/SMART-Mechanical national bargaining coalition continued negotiations with the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC) for the 2016 calendar year on March 30th and 31st. 
During the first day of scheduled negotiations, March 30th, the “Small Working Group” (SWG) presented its findings regarding the healthcare questions the lead negotiators had assigned them to investigate. Although the findings are preliminary, the BMWED/SMART-Mechanical coalition believes them to be rather accurate. Time will soon tell, as the NCCC has assigned its expert consultants to begin validating the SWG’s presented information. The validation process should take approximately two months.  

On March 31st, the BMWED/SMART-Mechanical coalition shifted the bargainers’ focus away from healthcare to wages and work rules. The NCCC was provided a comprehensive proposal that contained multiple improvements for the membership, namely general wage increases, wage adjustments for more uniform rates for maintenance of way crafts across all the various major Class 1 railroads, increases in away-from-home expenses and meal allowances, increases in vacation days and improved job protections. 

When asked about the current round of negotiations, BMWED President Freddie N. Simpson stated, “We surveyed our BMWED brothers and sisters about what was important to them in this round of National Negotiations. The membership identified healthcare and wages as their main priorities. The BMWED-SMART Mechanical coalition has provided the NCCC with a proposal that focuses on the membership’s defined concerns and objectives. We will continue to engage with the railroads during 2016 and push the membership’s interests at the table.”

The BMWED/SMART-Mechanical coalition is scheduled to conduct further negotiations with the NCCC in July and September of this year.