After Needless Delays, Carriers First Formal Proposal Calls for Paltry Wage Raises, Increased Cost Sharing

Published: May 19 2022 9:15AM

Unions All Agree That a P.E.B. Is Needed without Further Delay

The National Mediation Board held a recent mediation session with the BMWED/SMART-MD Coalition and National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC) as prescribed by the Railway Labor Act.  Nearly one year after the BMWED/SMART-MD Coalition made a comprehensive proposal, the NCCC finally presented their own. Predictably, it contains wages that do not maintain pace with inflation, coupled with substantial increases in out-of-pocket expenses in health and welfare benefits.  The railroads’ proposal also contains provisions that would continually increase the Members’ costs for health insurance through an annual cost adjustment based on inflation.  The railroads further reduced the value of their proposed general wage increases, amongst other diminutions of value for the entire proposal by proposing that increases would be reduced if other proposals of the railroads were not adopted.  You can find the NCCC’s proposal here.

The BMWED/SMART-MD Coalition provided updated comprehensive proposals of their own to the NCCC.  The updated proposals are virtually identical to the CBC’s most recent bargaining proposal to the NCCC (found here) regarding wages, health and welfare and paid time off, but also contain a cost-of-living adjustment provision as well as adjustments to Travel Allowances to account for changes in inflation since our original proposal last June.  You can find the BMWED’s newest May 18, 2022 Comprehensive proposal to the NCCC here.

The NMB’s three Board Members recently assumed control over mediation between the railroads and the BMWED/SMART-MD and the CBC Coalitions, scheduling “super mediation” for three consecutive days on May 24th, 25th and 26th.  The NMB’s efforts appear to be a last resort attempt to bring the parties to a voluntary agreement to conclude this round of national negotiations.    

“All of Rail Labor is united, on the same page and at the same stage in National Negotiations.  We have virtually identical proposals on the table for wages, health and welfare and paid time off, and we believe we are all at impasse in negotiations with the railroads,” BMWED President Freddie N. Simpson said. “I have seen nothing from the railroads to indicate that they will change their position during next week’s scheduled mediation with the Board Members that would result in the parties reaching a voluntary agreement.  Unless the railroads finally agree to share the profits more appropriately it will have to be compelled by a PEB or Congress in the event the parties cannot agree on the terms provided by the PEB.  It’s the workers that make this country move.  It’s the workers that make these companies’ profits.  And it’s the workers that deserve a much larger piece of the pie.  We urge the NMB to give us a proffer of arbitration so that we can begin moving towards a PEB which will bring this round to a close and bring more stability to an already fragile supply chain system.”