National Negotiations Update: The Latest from Mediation 3/1/17

Published: Mar 2 2017 2:12PM

The BMWED-SMART/Mechanical Bargaining Coalition again met with the National Carriers’
Conference Committee (NCCC) and the assigned federal mediator on Tuesday, February 28,
2017. At that meeting the railroads provided an unacceptable and regressive “response” to the
Coalition’s proposal made on February 7th. The carriers’ “response” can be found here.

The NCCC’s proposal is identical to their September 14, 2016 proposal, except for a worse wage
package. The NCCC now proposes that all wage increases will be prospective, beginning with
the first one occurring the date a contract is signed. In other words, the NCCC proposal contains
no back pay and delays any wage increases until the agreement is signed. The percentage wage
increases under that offer remain at 2%. The NCCC proposal simply repeated their September
proposal that would subject a family to up to $5000 in annual out-of-pocket expenses, plus other
deductibles and doctor and prescription co-pays.

The carriers continue to justify their recent proposal on the basis of their time-worn, “railroaders
earn too much and they have too good of benefits” and “railroads are struggling financially.”
When asked about the NCCC’s February 28th proposal, President Simpson pointed out,
“BMWED members and other railroaders are not over-paid and they deserve the benefits that
they have. Our coalition (and the TCU coalition) made the decision to provide a bargaining
proposal that would result in a respectable amount of real wage increases, improved paid time
off, away from home expenses, job security and affordable health care benefits. Our proposal
should serve as a basis for a voluntary agreement. But it is clear that the railroads intend to take
more from railroaders by making them pay more for their healthcare. We are going to meet
again for mediation in a few weeks, and I would hope that the railroads reconsider our February
28th proposal.”

Mediation is scheduled to resume March 14th and 15th. Further information about bargaining
will be forthcoming as it develops.