News Posts

Coordinated Bargaining Coalition Statement

The Coordinated Bargaining Coalition again calls on NMB to proffer arbitration.

While waiting for a response to our recent request to the National Mediation Board that a proffer of arbitration be issued by the Board to move our contract dispute to the next level, CBC unions participated in two additional days of mediated bargaining sessions with NCCC this week.

Once again, the nation’s class 1 rail carriers showed just how far they are removed from the realities that their employees and shippers are experiencing. Without regard for the beating that these rail carriers took in front of the Surface Transportation Board a week ago, and without regard to their continued record profit reports, the rail carriers continue to advance proposals at the bargaining table that they have previously been told are unacceptable to the CBC Unions and our members.

Due to the NCCC’s refusal to negotiate a fair agreement in good faith, all CBC Unions again request that the NMB proffer arbitration to the parties to end the endless delays by the rail carriers.
As we advised in January and April, we had hoped that the involvement of the NMB would cause the industry to refocus on addressing the legitimate needs of the men and women whose labor generates their positive financial returns. That has not happened, and there is no indication that it will without allowing the remaining steps of the Railway Labor Act to play out to compel a favorable settlement.


The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD).
Collectively, the CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 80% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.

LETTER: In Support Of The $4.2 Billion Bond Appropriation For California High-Speed Rail

President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins
1021 O Street, Suite 8518
Sacramento, CA 95814

Speaker Anthony Rendon
State Capitol, Room 219
Sacramento, CA 95814

May 4, 2022

Subject: In support of the $4.2 bond appropriation for California High-Speed Rail

Dear President Pro Tempore Atkins and Speaker Rendon,

As the leading national coalition working to fund electrified high-speed rail projects, the U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition urges the California State Legislature to approve the $4.2 billion voter-approved bond appropriation for the California High-Speed Rail project included in Governor Newsom’s Fiscal Year 2022/2023 Budget.

The ongoing spike in gas prices shows that California voters were wise to vote in favor of Prop 1A in 2008. High-speed rail is how we break free from oil – as well as the enormous burdens it places on consumers, communities and the climate.

Fourteen years later, the majority of California voters continue to support the high-speed rail project. According to a new Los Angeles Times – Berkeley poll, 56% of registered voters in California want to continue building the high-speed rail project, including 73% of registered Democrats and 54% of Independents.

Beyond the Central Valley, where construction is underway, support for the project is strong. 59% of L.A. County voters support continued construction of the project – including 32% who strongly favor continued construction – while only 29% oppose it. And 65% of Bay Area voters support continued construction, while 27% oppose it.

As the Legislature reviews Governor Newsom’s budget request, the California High-Speed Rail Authority is competing for billions of dollars in competitive grant opportunities in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as well as billions more in the pending budget reconciliation bill, which includes $10 billion in dedicated funding for high-speed rail projects.

Approval of the $4.2 billion bond appropriation will signal continued support by the State of California, giving the Biden Administration an incentive to provide significant federal investments for the project. Approving these funds will also make it easier for our coalition to advocate for new federal funding for the California High-Speed Rail project.

Together, these state and federal investments will help expedite the completion of an initial operating segment while advancing construction on the project’s critical bookends in the Los Angeles Basin and the Bay Area.

While project costs continue to generate news, we must keep in mind that building the equivalent highway or aviation capacity would cost nearly twice as much as finishing the job on California’s high-speed rail project.

Meanwhile, The California High-Speed Rail Authority is moving beyond the issues of the past and making significant strides forward. The project has created 7,800 labor jobs, $5.2 billion in labor income and $13.7 billion in economic output. Daily construction jobs have tripled since 2018. 90% of the parcels needed for construction in the Central Valley have been purchased. And the Authority estimates the entire 500-mile system will be fully environmentally cleared by Fiscal Year 2023/24.

America’s effort to decarbonize transportation depends on the completion of the California High-Speed Rail project. Once the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco line is up and running, it will slash emissions by an average of 2 million metric tons annually – equivalent to saving 225 million gallons of gas and taking 432,000 cars off the road every single year.

To achieve sustainability, we need high-speed rail. There is no cheaper or better alternative to addressing the state’s transportation and oil dependency challenges. As a recent New York Times article stated, the California High-Speed Rail project is the most visible test of whether America can complete “the transformative projects necessary to confront 21st century challenges.”

We urge you to redouble support for this monumental effort and show the nation that America’s most advanced bullet train project is moving full speed ahead.

Sincerely,

Secretary Anthony Foxx, Co-Chair, U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition
Secretary Ray LaHood, Co-Chair, U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition
Secretary Norman Mineta, Co-Chair, U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition
Rod Diridon, Co-Chair, U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition
Active San Gabriel Valley
AECOM
American Council of Engineering Companies, California
Associated General Contractors of CA
Bay Area Council
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen
CALPIRG
Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
High Speed Rail Alliance
HJI Group
HNTB
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)
Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA)
MBA Architects
National Conference of Firemen & Oilers 32BJ SEIU
Northern California Carpenters Union
Progressive Democrats of America
Rail Passengers Association
Railway Supply Institute
Rebuild SoCal Partnership
Safe Routes Partnership
Santa Clara & San Benito Counties Building & Construction Trades Council
Siemens USA
Silicon Valley Leadership Group
SPUR
Teamsters Rail Conference
Titan Freight Systems, Inc.
Transit Oriented Development Institute
Transportation California
U.S. High Speed Rail Association


About the U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition

The U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition mobilizes leading unions, businesses, and public servants to advocate for investments that will finally make high-speed rail a reality in America.

Former USDOT Secretaries Ray LaHood, Norman Mineta, and Anthony Foxx as well as California High Speed Rail Authority Chair Emeritus Rod Diridon serve as Co-Chairs of the Coalition’s Executive Committee.

Our Executive Committee members are ACI, AECOM, Arup, Brightline, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, Deutsche Banh, Grimshaw, HJI Group, HNTB, The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), Quandel Consultants, Renfe, National Conference of Firemen & Oilers 32BJ SEIU, Siemens, Stacy and Witbeck, Teamsters Rail Conference, Waterford Solutions Limited, and WSP.

U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition

For more information, call (202) 248-5001
contact@ushsrcoalition.org


General Counsel Rich Edelman Provides Scorching Testimony to the Surface Transportation Board

During two consecutive days last week, members of the Surface Transportation Board heard scores of arguments from unsatisfied shipping companies and exasperated labor representatives and employees regarding the troubled and mismanaged Class 1 freight railroads. The public slam of railroad management had been long overdue.
Indoctrination into “Precision Scheduled Railroading,” the brainchild of the late modern-day robber baron Hunter Harrison, and a constant desire to satisfy Wall Street has left the railroads in the lurch. Rich Edelman, General Counsel to the NCFO and longtime fierce advocate for rail labor, laid it all out on Thursday.
We encourage you to listen to the testimony and subsequent Q&A (25:29). It is hard to imagine a better way to demonstrate how Brother Edelman described the mismanagement and greed of the freight carriers and how their singular focus on shareholder’s limitless greed has led them to fail to meet the needs of their customers and leave them without the manpower and expertise to pull themselves out of their self-inflicted jam.

NCFO Press Release

THE COORDINATED BARGAINING COALITION RELEASED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT ON APRIL 25, 2022:

On January 24, 2022, after more than two years of bargaining with the major U.S. Class I railroads, the 10 Rail Unions bargaining as part of the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) announced that they had applied to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for the assignment of a federal mediator to assist in the negotiations.

As we advised then, the carriers represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) simply were not bargaining in good faith.  Unfortunately, nothing has changed during the four mediated bargaining sessions that the CBC has held with the NCCC.  Having reported record 4th quarter 2021 profits, followed by 1st quarter 2022 record profits, the rail carriers continue to refuse to withdraw their demands for work rule and health and welfare concessions.  Even more ridiculous and unacceptable is their refusal to agree to meaningful wage increases while making record profits during the highest level of inflation seen in years.

Adding insult to injury, the NCCC not only refused our request to bargain on wages at our mediated session last week, they then sent the CBC Unions a national proposal offering to pay lump sum payments of $600.00 (maximum payment) in the remaining months of 2022 while the parties remain stuck in endless and unproductive mediation.  Regardless of the gaslighting the NCCC has done on their proposal, it is not all they say it is.  The payments will have to be repaid from any backpay payments that may be in the ultimate national contract settlement.  If there are insufficient backpay earnings to repay the lump sums, the employee will owe the employer the balance.  All CBC Unions, responding in a united front, have rejected the latest NCCC proposal.

This latest proposal, somewhere between a loan and a pay day advance, is just further evidence that the NCCC has no intentions of reaching a voluntary settlement any time soon.  You don’t offer temporary proposals if you plan to offer a complete contract settlement.  In fact, the CEOs of UP and CSX both said in their earnings reports this past week that there would be no national contract settlement for months. 

The members of our Unions, who have carried the rail carriers through a pandemic and to record profits, deserve a full contract settlement now.  Due to the NCCC’s refusal to negotiate such a proposal, all CBC Unions have filed requests with the NMB asking that our contract dispute be advanced to the next steps of the Railway Labor Act process, which is for the NMB to proffer arbitration to the parties. Should either party reject the proffer, it would start a 30-day cooling off period before any party could exercise self-help.  

As we advised in January, we had hoped that the involvement of the NMB would cause the industry to refocus on addressing the legitimate needs of the men and women whose labor generates their positive financial returns. That has not happened, and there is no indication that it will without allowing the remaining steps of the Railway Labor Act to play out to compel a favorable settlement.

###

The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD).

Collectively, the CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 80% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.

TTD PRESS CLIPPINGS

TTD in the News:

Food Supply Problems Pinned on Railroad ‘Negligence,’ Layoffs

Bloomberg Government
(Also published in Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg Environment and Bloomberg BNA)
Lillianna Byington
April 12, 2022

Labor unions are blaming freight railroad operators for cutting employees to streamline operations, contributing to rail delays and straining the nation’s food and energy supply chains.

Worker shortages caused by layoffs have hurt the U.S. economy by delaying freight rail shippers, the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO told the Surface Transportation Board rail regulator in a letter released Tuesday. It specifically called out grain companies’ concerns about disruption on tracks operated by Union Pacific Corp., Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and Norfolk Southern Corp.

Rail labor unions, along with agriculture and energy shippers, say precision-scheduled railroading has allowed for leaner operations, but at the expense of job cuts and service problems. PSR is a strategy used by railroads to streamline their operations by adjusting their scheduling and using fewer rail cars.

SERVICE DISRUPTIONS

Politico Morning Pro
Alex Daugherty
April 12, 2022

SERVICE DISRUPTIONS: A new letter from the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department to the Surface Transportation Board argues that feed and grain shippers are being hurt by freight rail carriers who are unable to complete shipments due to staffing issues.

“The notion that our nation’s food supply chain is threatened by the continued negligence and intransigence of the railroad industry is both stunning and unacceptable,” TTD president Greg Regan wrote to the STB. “It is clear that a lack of oversight has allowed Class I railroads to operate in a manner that is harmful to shippers, employees, and the American public, and these issues will not resolve out of self-regulation by the carriers. We urge the Board to continue to delve into the service issues faced by shippers, and how these issues have been caused or exacerbated by an overly reduced workforce, T&E and otherwise.”

Aviation:

Your next American Airlines flight could be on a bus

The Washington Post
Nathan Diller
April 11, 2022

American Airlines is launching a partnership to provide travelers with connections between airports … by bus.

Beginning June 3, transportation company Landline will connect Philadelphia International Airport, one of American’s hubs, to Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) and Atlantic City International Airport (ACY). Tickets for those trips with Landline service will be available starting today.

“Our partnership with Landline is one more way we’re making it easy for customers to connect to American’s premier trans-Atlantic gateway in Philadelphia,” Brian Znotins, American’s vice president of network planning, said in a news release from the airline. “Customers can start and end their journey at their local airport, relax on a comfortable Landline vehicle, and leave the driving to someone else while they work or start their vacation early.”

Can ‘Buses-As-Flights’ Get Americans Out of Cars — And Planes?

Streetsblog
Kea Wilson
April 11, 2022

U.S. airlines are beginning to contract with bus companies to run on-the-ground “flights” between nearby cities — and advocates are suggesting that the intercity bus should no longer be ignored in the conversation about curbing car and plane dependency.

American Airlines sparked a curious mix of applause and outrage on Twitter last week when it was announced it would join the growing industry trend of replacing short-leg flights with “on-the-ground” alternatives — or, to be more precise, good old-fashioned buses and shuttles.

Tickets for those so-called “buses-as-flights” will be sold exactly as if they were connecting flights, through sites like Kayak and airlines’ own websites, and passengers and their luggage will be ferried directly from their homes to the airport — or, in some cases, directly from terminal to terminal — on buses branded to resemble American’s off-the-ground fleet.

EU ends airline exemption for cargo in passenger cabin

American Shipper
Eric Kulisch
April 12, 2022

European aviation regulators said Monday they won’t extend a safety exemption allowing airlines to carry critical supplies in the passenger cabin to make up for capacity lost when the pandemic closed down most commercial flights.

“The logistical challenges that arose in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis no longer exist to the same extent,” the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said in a notice. The permission for cabin cargo expires July 31.

EASA was one of the first civil aviation authorities to exempt airlines from requirements to submit a supplemental type certificate for proposed structural modifications or changes to the approved use of aircraft systems. A large number of airlines repurposed a portion of their grounded fleets for dedicated cargo-only flights to take advantage of high demand and rates. An early driver of passenger-freighters was the urgent need for COVID medical supplies and protective equipment.

Transit:

Shoot the Whole Day Down: Subway Riders Don’t Like Mondays

Streetsblog
Dave Colon
April 11, 2022

Everybody’s working for the (long) weekend.

New transit data show that the Big Apple is more like the Big Garfield, with a population that simply hates Mondays. Subway ridership stats from October through March show that weekday subway ridership on Mondays was roughly 7 percent lower than it was for Tuesdays through Fridays (discounting holidays that fell on Mondays or other days of the week).

The numbers? The average on a Monday is 2,815,166 million rides over the six month period. The per day average for non-Mondays was 3,026,371 million.

The four-day weekend pattern reflects the new reality of hybrid work schedules, where employees must be at their actual brick-and-mortar job site only twice or thrice per week.

Rail:

Rails and regulators battle publicly over service issues

Freightwaves
Joanna Marsh
April 12, 2022

The spring meeting of the North East Association of Rail Shippers (NEARS) saw three Class I railroads seeking to persuade rail shippers and other stakeholders that they are working hard to improve rail service.

For instance, the Class I railroads all told rail shippers that they are taking aggressive steps to increase their ranks of train and engine crews so that they have the capacity to meet demand. Absences due to the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated service issues, they said at the gathering last week in Baltimore.

The Surface Transportation Board doesn’t appear convinced. At the same time this meeting was underway, the STB announced that it will conduct a two-day public hearing in late April to gather testimony not only from the railroads but other stakeholders, including shippers and even unions, over whether deteriorating rail service stems from deeper issues related to precision scheduled railroading (PSR), an approach that seeks to streamline operations.

U.S. lawmakers hear pros, cons of STB regulation

Progressive Railroading
Julie Sneider
April 2022

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials held a hearing March 8 to collect stakeholder input on the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) role in regulating the freight-rail industry.

The proceeding was held as the subcommittee’s members prepare for STB reauthorization legislation, subcommittee Chair Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) said in prepared remarks.

Speakers included House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and representatives from Amtrak and the freight-rail industry, such as rail shippers, associations and unions.

Amtrak makes $3.3B grant request for FY2023

Progressive Railroading
April 11, 2022

Amtrak is seeking $3.3 billion in total grant funding for fiscal-year 2023, as part of the national intercity passenger railroad’s annual appropriation request from Congress.

With the recent enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Amtrak is entering a new era with a historic level of federal investment for capital projects and “a clear plan to transform and grow our business,” Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner said April 8 in a statement after submitting to Congress the railroad’s general and legislative annual report.

Transportation:

Low-Carbon Fuel Standards Hit Snags Beyond West Coast States

Bloomberg Law
Zach Bright
April 12, 2022

A low-carbon fuel standard to cut vehicle emissions is moving ahead in Washington state but running into roadblocks elsewhere, leading some experts and opponents to pin blame on what they called a flawed policy.

Washington’s nearly $17 billion transportation plan (S.B.5974) signed March 25 makes it the third state—after Oregon and California—to implement a low-carbon fuel standard. Starting next year, fuel producers can earn credits for meeting steadily stricter carbon reduction targets, a policy that exceeds the national Renewable Fuel Standard with a wider array of gasoline and diesel beyond biofuels.

It’s the tool of choice advocates have pushed for in multiple states, seeking to lower greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change.

Ports and Maritime:

West Coast port labor talks carry high stakes for economy, midterms

Politico
Eleanor Mueller
April 11, 2022

More than 22,000 unionized workers at nearly 30 ports along the West Coast are set to begin renegotiating their contract next month against the backdrop of an already imperiled supply chain, a historically tight labor market and looming midterm elections.

The whirlwind of economic and political factors significantly ups the stakes for the talks, which take place every six years and have in the past stalled traffic at the busiest ports in the U.S. The Biden administration plans to keep close tabs on the talks — and intervene immediately should a breakdown appear imminent.

Washington State Ferries in need of new recruits

King 5 News
Chris Daniels
April 11, 2022

A March 8 report from the ferry system states staff shortages are “unprecedented” in the ferry system’s 70-year history.

Officials with Washington State Ferries acknowledge it is short staffed and in need of dozens of new recruits.

“It’s not good, quite honestly. We don’t have enough people to sail the vessels right now,” Washington State Ferry spokesman Ian Sterling said on Monday as he stood outside the Seattle Maritime Academy. “We need to hire, train, and get people out on the water.”

Workers and Unions:

Congrats! You formed a union. Now comes the hard part.

Vox
Rani Molla
April 12, 2022

Union membership in the US has been in decline for decades, but there’s recently been a potential shift. Seventeen corporate Starbucks locations in the US have voted to form a union since the end of last year, and another 170 or so are slated to vote in the coming weeks and months — all in an industry where unionizing is rare. And in early April, workers at a Staten Island Amazon warehouse also voted for a union, making them the first to organize in a company known for quashing organizing. These successful votes are historic, and they’re an optimistic sign for unions in America.

But while the hard-won union votes might be the most cinematic part, it’s not the end of the story. The lengthy and difficult process of negotiating a contract that benefits workers has only just begun — and its conclusion is far from certain.

Automation:

Tesla fans struggle to get loved ones on board with ‘full self-driving

CNN
Matt McFarland
April 11, 2022

Frugal Tesla Guy, a YouTube personality focused on Tesla, gives his passengers a speech to prepare them before he turns on “full self-driving.”

“I need you to understand that I have complete and total control. I’m behind the wheel. I have access to the brake, the accelerator and the steering wheel. Anytime it does something that I don’t feel is safe, I will take control of the car,” he says.

But the reassurances haven’t eased his wife’s concerns. She says the technology is often jarring and anxiety-inducing.

“If I’m reading, that’s when I’m like, ‘Oh good grief,’” Sadie Krueger told CNN Business. “It would be jerky or swerve just out of the blue. You’re like, ‘Whoa, are you drunk?’”

Amazon Drone Crashes Hit Jeff Bezos’ Delivery Dreams

Bloomberg
Spencer Soper and Matt Day
April 10, 2022

Jeff Bezos went on 60 Minutes in 2013 and pledged to fill the skies with a fleet of delivery drones that could zip parcels to customers’ homes in 30 minutes. Asked when this future would arrive, the Amazon.com Inc. founder said he expected drone deliveries to commence in the next five years or thereabouts.

Almost a decade later, despite spending more than $2 billion and assembling a team of more than 1,000 people around the world, Amazon is a long way from launching a drone delivery service.

A Bloomberg investigation based on internal documents, government reports and interviews with 13 current and former employees reveals a program beset by technical challenges, high turnover and safety concerns. A serious crash in June prompted federal regulators to question the drone’s airworthiness because multiple safety features failed and the machine careened out of control, causing a brush fire. While experimental aircraft are expected to crash during test flights, current and former employees say pressure to get the program back on track has prompted some managers to take unnecessary risks that have put personnel in harm’s way.

Amazon is still struggling to make drone deliveries work

The Verge
Emma Roth
April 11, 2022

A report from Bloomberg details the obstacles hampering Amazon’s efforts to get its delivery drone program off the ground, citing a high employee turnover rate and potential safety risks.

According to Bloomberg, there were five crashes over the course of a four-month period at the company’s testing site in Pendleton, Oregon. A crash in May took place after a drone lost its propeller, but Bloomberg says Amazon cleaned up the wreckage before the Federal Aviation Administration could investigate. Amazon spokesperson Av Zammit disputed this, saying that Amazon followed orders it received from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to document the event and move the drone.

USPS:

DeJoy says USPS will expedite midterm ballots, holds firm on electric trucks

The Washington Post
Jacob Bogage
April 12, 2022

Had the U.S. Postal Service incrementally made improvements over the years, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy says, Americans wouldn’t know who runs their mail agency. And DeJoy, the controversial leader of the mail service, wouldn’t be making “uncomfortable” changes at the Postal Service to make it fit for evolving consumer habits.

But when DeJoy, a former supply-chain logistics executive and conservative political donor, took over the Postal Service in June 2020, the agency was in dire shape. The coronavirus pandemic was on the verge of sidelining much of its workforce. Its complex transportation network was misaligned, a cardinal sin in DeJoy’s logistics world. The postal chief’s changes to fix what he saw as fundamental flaws cascaded into a mail-delay crisis before the 2020 presidential election that made DeJoy a household name.

Infrastructure:

Congress aims for next step to safeguard critical infrastructure

Roll Call
Gopal Ratnam
April 12, 2022

Lawmakers are looking to boost the U.S. government’s ability to safeguard from devastating cyberattacks on vital infrastructure sectors such as water supplies, electric utilities and pipeline operators.

The effort comes on the heels of a new law Congress passed as part of the fiscal 2022 omnibus spending bill that requires operators of critical infrastructure to report any cyberattacks they suffer to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

“How do we continue to mature the way the government engages with critical infrastructure – particularly those entities that are the most critical of the critical?” Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation of the House Homeland Security Committee said at a recent hearing.

Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
www.ttd.org

NCFO PRESS RELEASE

NCFO logo
Louisville, Kentucky

NCFO MEMBERS: “UNION BUSTING IS HAPPENING IN LOUISVILLE”

Union members of the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU 32BJ, spoke to members of the media this morning to spotlight their employer’s attempt to break their union.  Over the past few weeks, their employer, AAK, has used the services of two consultants in order to “survey” the union workforce.  The company gave these consultants access to members while they are on the clock, and many of them are concerned that the employer may have given them access to their personnel files.

The unidentified strangers told some members they were there to address safety concerns.

“We believe we were lied to about why these people were here. They told some people they were here because of all the Human Resources complaints, and they even told some they were here from the government,” said James Bodenstadt, a union steward and 12-year employee of AAK.

After the strange accounts from members at AAK’s K1 and K2 facility, union staff investigated to find the true identity and purpose of their visit.  Using a phone number provided by a union member, union staff spoke with the consultants about their firm and the services they offer.  The consultant firm, MGMT consultants, advertises employee relations on their website.  By phone, a man who identified himself as the CEO of MGMT consultants explained their services in detail. 

“When I asked them what they did and verified their identity I spoke to a man who said he was the CEO of MGMT Consulting Group. He told me they go in, meet with employees and try to find someone who is disgruntled with the union and then they get them to sign other employees a decertification petition,” said Sam Elliott, the NCFO staff who lead the investigation.

Through the investigation, the union was able to acquire a sample invoice from MGMT Consulting listing their hourly rate at $400 per hour.  

“I have been working there [at AAK] for almost 20 years, trying to provide for my family in these tough economic times, and I find it unbelievable that the company I help make their money spent so much effort and money to keep guys from organizing and utilizing their union rights.” said Rod Boller, a union steward at AAK.

“This is what I want people to know – union busters are real and they’re lying to people in these meetings about the real reason they are there.  These people would not – they outright refused – to give me their full name or their business card.  I believe that’s because they really didn’t want us to know they were here to bust our union up,” said Terry Ralston, union steward at AAK’s K1 facility. 

Sen. Morgan McGarvey spoke alongside workers this morning.  He highlighted the urgent need to pass legislation, the PRO Act.  The Protecting the Right to Organize Act is legislation which would expand the protections related to employee’s right to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace. 

National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU 32BJ represents 3,000 members in the city of Louisville who work at distilleries, chemical processing, racetracks, and JCPS.

NCFO Press Release

Rail Labor’s largest coalition reaches dead end on path to voluntary agreement

The Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) released the following statement on January 24, 2022:

After more than two years of bargaining with the major U.S. Class 1 railroads, discussions completely stalled last week. Accordingly, pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Railway Labor Act, top leaders of 10 rail unions applied to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for the assignment of a federal mediator to assist in our negotiations.

The Carriers represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) simply are not bargaining in good faith. This development is very frustrating, as the Unions in the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition have been at the negotiating table since November 2019. Throughout that time, despite our best efforts, the carriers have not made a comprehensive settlement proposal that we believe our members would even remotely entertain. In fact, the Carriers’ latest proposal is worse than bad faith; it is insulting.

After carrying our nation through the Pandemic, and as the carriers have posted record breaking profit margins due to their implementation of so-called “Precision Scheduled Railroading” practices, our members have earned, and rightfully expect a substantial contract settlement that recognizes the sacrifices they and their families make each day. Instead, the Carriers continue to push proposals that fail to even catch up to the cost of living. From the beginning of this round of negotiations, the CBC has adamantly refused to accept any type of concessionary agreement. Instead, the railroads continue to demand extreme changes to our members’ current benefits and attempt to unilaterally impose work rule changes that would further erode our members’ already taxed standard of living.

We anticipate that the involvement of the NMB will cause the industry to refocus on addressing the legitimate needs of the men and women whose labor generates their positive financial returns. In an effort to bring all affected members up to speed, the CBC’s latest proposal can be found at:

Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (PDF)

Additional information will be provided as developments warrant. We appreciate your continuing support, and we look forward to working with the NMB to reach a settlement that we can be proud of.

The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD).

Collectively, the CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 80% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.

NCFO PRESS RELEASE

Falls Church, VA

The National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU 32BJ welcomes Amit Bose as the new FRA Administrator.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Thursday, January 13, 2022 that Amit Bose has been confirmed as the 15th Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Nominated by President Biden on April 22, 2021, Mr. Bose, who was previously serving as Deputy Administrator, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 12, 2022. He is the first person of South-Asian descent to lead FRA.

“The NCFO applauds the confirmation of Amit Bose to lead the FRA. His distinguished career at the New Jersey Transit and his leadership experience with the FRA across two administrations made him the ideal candidate for the job. We are confident that he will exceed expectations in his new role. His confirmation is timely as we need allies like him during the implementation of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes the largest investment in passenger rail in decades. The NCFO looks forward to his administration making a positive impact on our members and partners in rail labor.”

NCFO President Dean Devita & Secretary Treasurer Robert Smith

The NCFO is an affiliate of 32BJ SEIU,the Service Employees International Union, which has 2.1 million members dedicated to raising industry standards, making life better for working families and our communities, and building a fair economy.

NCFO PRESS RELEASE

NCFO logo
Falls Church, VA

The National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU 32BJ issues a statement regarding the devastation in south-central and mid-west states caused by tornadoes on Friday night.

“The NCFO would like to send our sincere condolences to the hundreds of thousands of families suffering due to the severe property damage, extended power outages, and loss of loved ones caused by the historic tornado outbreak that destroyed homes and businesses across Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Starting around 7:00 PM on Friday evening, 36 tornadoes wreaked havoc in the area for 9½ hours into the Saturday morning. With as many as 90 total lives lost and a death toll still rising, western Kentucky was the hardest hit with a third of the tornadoes spanning over 200 ruinous miles and killing upwards of 80 people in that state alone.

As rescue efforts continue to save lives and recover from damage while over 74,000 customers are still without power, we are heartbroken over the loss from this unusual tragedy. We all share in the sorrow with love, support, and kindness for all victims and their friends and family. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

— NCFO President Dean Devita & Secretary Treasurer Robert Smith

The NCFO is an affiliate of 32BJ SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, which has 2.1 million members dedicated to raising industry standards, making life better for working families and our communities, and building a fair economy.

The NCFO Endorses Craig Greenberg for Mayor of Louisville

Craig Greengberg came over to NCFO Chapter 320 in Louisville, KY as soon as her heard that we endorsed him. Pictured left to right: 320 President Tony Lee, 320 VP Jamie Kinder, 320 Political Committee Member Chris Laird, Louisville Mayoral Candidate Craig Greenberg, 320 Political Committee Member Terry Ralston, 320 Political Committee Member Greg Bass, 320 Political Committee Member Damon Lanier, 320 Political Committee Member Don Vest.

The NCFO announced today that we are endorsing Craig Greenberg in the Democratic Primary for Louisville Mayor. Members of our endorsement committee made the choice after thoroughly reviewing candidate questionnaires.

“Greenberg is the right choice for us because his plan includes a seat at the table for organized labor,” said Damon Lanier, Louisville Metro Housing Authority employee. “He seems eager, responsive, and most importantly, willing to be held accountable to labor. That’s why he earned our support.”

“I have family and friends who grew up in the West End of Louisville, and a lot of my coworkers at Housing Authority have ties to the West End, so for me his work on the West End Opportunity Partnership really affected my decision,” said Chris Laird, Louisville Metro Housing Authority employee.

“I pick winners every day, so I know Craig is the way to go!” said Don Vest, Chapter 541 President and Parimutuel Clerk at Churchill Downs since 1971.

The National Conference of Firemen & Oilers District of Local 32BJ/SEIU is a labor union which proudly celebrates over 100 years of service, both on and off the job, to thousands of workers and their families. Our organization’s members can be found working in a variety of occupational fields among both private and public employers throughout the United States. In Louisville, we represent 2,000 hardworking residents including JCPS custodians, Zoeller Pump, Cardinal Aluminum, AAK, and private sector factory workers. In the public sector, we represent 98 Louisville Metro Housing Authority Maintenance staff and 600 custodial staff for Jefferson County Public Schools.

“I am honored to have the support and trust of the hard-working individuals of NCFO SEIU and will not let them down,” Greenberg said. “I’ve assured them that, as with all members of organized labor, they will not only have a strong voice in my administration but a bigger voice in our city.”

The NCFO’s support reflects confidence in Greenberg’s ability to enact reforms for good government, transparency, and commitment to work with organized labor to build and strengthen our local economy.