AAR Petitions FRA to Increase Off-Air Time to 24 Hours

The Association of American Railroads (AAR), on behalf of itself and its member railroads, recently petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a waiver of compliance from Federal railroad safety regulations which require brake tests to be performed on a train when it has been off-air for four hours. AAR specifically requests that the four-hour off-air restriction be replaced by a 24-hour off-air restriction. AAR maintains that the requested relief will not affect safety.

The Brotherhood Railway Carman (BRC) has joined with four other rail unions to oppose AAR’s petition for waiver because the requested relief could endanger the safety of both railroad workers and the general public. Among other things, the unions have specifically complained to FRA that in certain circumstances the length of time that equipment is removed from a source of compressed air can impact the integrity and operation of the brake system on a vehicle or train.

In particular, the unions noted that extended off-air time is a concern where the potential for vandalism is high due to the location where equipment is left standing. In addition, cold weather situations can cause freeze-ups in train brake systems. AAR itself admits in its petition that many, but not all locomotives, have operable air driers or other systems to remove moisture and contaminants from the air supply system. Furthermore, the equipment is interchanged and does not stay on the Class I railroads as well. “With all the recent accidents in the railroad industry, now is not the time to further compromise safety by increasing the off-air time to 24 hours,” said BRC General President Richard Johnson. “Simply put, it just takes one piece of equipment with part of the braking operations damaged to compromise the entire trainline.”

Click here to read the read the joint comments submitted by the unions.

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Tentative National Agreement Reached by the CBG

A tentative National Agreement has been reached by the six Rail Unions who comprise the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG). These six Unions are now in the process of submitting the Tentative Agreement to the specific ratification process of each Union.

This is a major development in a long and contentious bargaining round with the industry. TCU is not part of the CBG however the Agreement will undoubtedly form the basis of any agreement we are able to reach.

Click here to read the letter from TCU President Scardelletti.

Click here to read the update released by the CBG.

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TCU/IAM Local 6069 Ratified New Agreement with Transco

Transco Members Ratify New Agreement

Members from TCU/IAM Local Lodge 6069 located in Oelwein, IA working at Transco shop ratified a tentative agreement on June 9, 2017.  This was 30 hours prior to an authorized strike sanction from International President, Robert Martinez and National President, Robert Scardelletti.  

TCU Carmen Division Vice President Don Grissom speaks to Transco Members

The original tentative agreement was voted down on April 5, 2017, by the membership at 97%.  After further intense negotiations with the company and a Federal Mediator, the BRC/TCU negotiating committee, which consisted of General Vice President, Donald Grissom, National Representative, Robert Keppen, Assistant National Representative, Richard Reilly, Local President, Derek Casey, Local Chairman, Jeremy Lawless and Mike Ott, achieved a tentative agreement of 8.5% GWI for a 3 year term, retroactive back pay to April 11, 2017 and health & welfare premiums frozen – with a 5% reduction of premiums in year 1 and an additional 5% in year 2.  

Transco Members Vote on Agreement

The Committee also achieved the following enhancements in the CBA:  acquired lead positions, implemented 1 day advance layoff notice, acquired jury duty leave for probationary employees, attained $200 contribution towards safety boots, all required tools are now supplied by the company (employees were previously required to supply hand tools at their own cost), acquired a 24 hour advance notice for overtime, decreased qualifying years for 3rd week of vacation, increased the accidental death insurance by $10,000, added pall bearer for 1 day funeral pay and also, added the maintenance employees to the collective bargaining unit.

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