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RRB News

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Railroad Retirement Benefits to See Significant Rise in 2023

Most railroad retirement annuities, like social security benefits, will increase in January 2023 due to a rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the third quarter of 2021 to the corresponding period of the current year.

Cost-of-living increases are calculated in both the tier I and tier II portion of a railroad retirement annuity. Tier I benefits, like social security benefits, will increase by 8.7 percent, which is the percentage of the CPI rise. This is the largest increase since 1981, when it was 11.2 percent.

Tier II benefits will go up by 2.8 percent, which is 32.5 percent of the CPI increase. Vested dual benefit payments and supplemental annuities also paid by the Railroad Retirement Board

(RRB) are not adjusted for the CPI change.

In January 2023, the average regular railroad retirement employee annuity will increase $215 a month to $3,344 and the average of combined benefits for an employee and spouse will increase $304 a month to $4,838. For those aged widow(er)s eligible for an increase, the average annuity will increase $120 a month to $1,691.

Widow(er)s whose annuities are being paid under the Railroad Retirement and Survivors’ Improvement Act of 2001 will not receive annual cost-of-living adjustments until their annuity amount is exceeded by the amount that would have been paid under prior law, counting all interim cost-of-living increases otherwise payable. Some 49 percent of the widow(er)s on the RRB’s rolls are being paid under the 2001 law.

If a railroad retirement or survivor annuitant also receives a social security or other government benefit, such as a public service pension, any cost-of-living increase in that benefit will offset the increased tier I benefit. However, tier II cost-of-living increases are not reduced by increases in other government benefits. If a widow(er) whose annuity is being paid under the 2001 law is also entitled to an increased government benefit, her or his railroad retirement survivor annuity may decrease.

In late December the RRB will mail notices to all annuitants providing a breakdown of the annuity rates payable to them in January 2023.
General Information: 877-772-5772

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NCFO Press Release

Falls Church, VA

NCFO Members Vote to Ratify Agreement

The membership has voted to ratify a tentative agreement with the carriers, after almost three years of negotiations between the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU 32BJ(NCFO) and the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC). The vote was passed with a 58.7% margin in favor of the negotiated contract.

NCFO President Dean Devita stated “The agreement includes the highest wage increase in 48 years, five annual service recognition payments, an additional paid day off, and enhanced Autism healthcare benefits something we been fighting for over 25 years. We also increased the maximum hearing benefit from $600.00 to $2,000.00. Members will receive a 22% wage increase, receive retroactive pay within 60 days.” Devita continued “The terms of this agreement were not negotiated at the bargaining table. It was recommended by Presidential Emergency Board #250. It must be noted that the Carrier’s made degrading proposals for three long years while our members suffered without a wage increase. NCFO and our Rail Labor partners had to fight this contract round at the Presidential Emergency Board. Besides the strong wage increases and the increase in our Health Insurance many members of the NCFO are disappointed with the terms of the agreement. I strongly agree with them. Quality of life issues after the COVID-19 crisis is extremely important, sick leave and time off to visit Medical Practitioners are more important today than it was 48 years ago. Although the agreement is finalized, the NCFO will continue to work on this and many other issues”.

The members made their decision, let’s respect everyone’s opinion and continue to fight for the rights of our members.

The NCFO is thankful for the support of our members during this horrific round.

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

Falls Church, VA

Update on the Tentative Agreement

Ratification ballots pertaining to the Tentative Agreement (TA) between the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers and the National Carriers Conference Committee {Class I freight Railroads} have been sent to the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers members, last known address. The deadline to vote on the TA is October 13, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. EST. NCFO Members will receive instructions on how to vote. The American Arbitration Association has been retained to conduct the balloting.

If you experience any problem with the system, please call (800) 273-0726 or (215) 731-2280 (Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST).

NCFO Press Release

Falls Church, VA

September 16, 2022 Strike Q&A

Question: Can NCFO Members go on strike at 12:00:001 AM on Friday, September 16, 2022?

Answer: No. NCFO is engaging in an agreement ratification process, during which NCFO Members cannot exercise self-help (i.e., go on strike) at this time.

Question: If other Railroad crafts strike at 12:00:01 AM on Friday, September 16, 2022, do NCFO Members leave the job?

Answer: NCFO Members are required to honor all picket lines. If you report to work and other crafts have formed a picket line, DO NOT CROSS THE PICKET LINE. However, if you are mid-shift (already at work and working) and a strike is called by other Union Crafts, NCFO Members must finish working their shift, secure all equipment and leave work thereafter and not return until the strike is over, or there is a cessation of the strike or workers are compelled to return to work by legislation or order.

NCFO Press Release

Falls Church, VA

NCFO Executive Board Provides an UPDATE on the tentative agreement with the National Carrier’s Conference Committee

Since we last communicated with the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers (NCFO) Membership, the NCFO has met with the Railroads at a public interest meeting at the NMB with Labor Secretary Walsh and continued to have discussions with the Railroads concerning the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board #250. The NCFO met with all our General Chairmen and Regional Chairmen to discuss our situation. It was the opinion of NCFO officers and the General and Regional Chairmen that, since this contract would offer the highest wage increase in 48 years and the highest amount of retroactive pay in any National Agreement, this agreement must be presented to the membership for their consideration, and that the NCFO has to allow our democratic process to move forward and allow the Members to Vote on their contract. Therefore, The National Conference of Firemen & Oilers (NCFO) reached a Tentative Agreement with the National Carrier’s Conference Committee (NCCC). This Tentative Agreement will be presented to the NCFO Members for ratification.

The Tentative Agreement secures all of the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board #250. Under the terms of this Agreement, employees will receive General Wage Increases of 24% compounded Increases over 5 years.

The recommendation also called for five $1,000 Service Recognition Bonus. The Tentative Agreement provides positive design changes to our Healthcare Plans related to the coverage and treatment for autism disorder and hearing benefits. It also provides an additional day of paid leave.

We also noticed that a lot of misinformation is being spread, we recommend that you and your family, review the terms of the agreement and the information that will be provided by NCFO to make an educated decision which would be in the best interest of your family.

NCFO Members in National Freight handling can expect to receive voting instructions in the near future.

NCFO Press Release

Louisville, Kentucky


Heine Brothers’ Coffee workers, organizing with NCFO 32BJ SEIU, won their union election with a significant majority last night. The workers will now sit at the bargaining table with their employer and negotiate a fair contract for all Heine Brothers’ workers.

“Since we knocked on the union’s door six months ago, our goal has always been to organize a better workplace for ourselves and for our coworkers. We love our jobs, and we love each other. That is why we started organizing and that is the strength and unity that won us this union election,” said Sabrina Lindsey, Heine Brothers barista.

Workers announced their intent to unionize in April of this year. The organizing workers decided to organize all 17 (formerly 18) Heine Brothers stores because workers are all facing the same issues across the company, and workers also pick up shifts at multiple store locations.

At a victory party after the close of the election, workers gathered to hear the news that they are the second largest group of baristas to organize across the country.

“Winning this election means so much to all of us who have spent months organizing, talking to our coworkers, and bringing our friends and coworkers together to fight for something bigger than ourselves but that we will all benefit from. We owe so much to the generations of undervalued workers and the union organizers who came before us, and we are honored to carry on this fight in their honor. This win means that we get to sit down with Heine Brothers’ corporate and negotiate a contract that gives us the living wages we need, the schedules that allow us to plan our lives outside of work, and the power to have our voices heard in our workplaces to make effective change,” said Gami Ray, Heine Brothers’ worker.

Newly unionized Heine Brothers’ Coffee baristas hope to begin bargaining in good faith with their employer for a fair contract as soon as possible.

NCFO Press Release

Falls Church, VA


Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Since the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) #250, the NCFO has been asked to comment concerning this situation. This is a sensitive time in negotiations and we don’t believe in bargaining in the press, social media, or a microphone in the streets.

Traditionally, after a recommendation is made by a PEB, the parties bargain over the findings. After these recommendations became public, the Railroads agreed to the recommendations. We have met with them several times to discuss the recommendations. Progress was made and agreed to concerning language.

At this time, the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers have yet to reach a tentative agreement.

It is our goal to reach a tentative agreement. We will continue good faith bargaining throughout this cooling-off period as prescribed by the Railway Labor Act.

On September 2, 2022, your union was notified by the National Mediation Board that they are of opinion that, in public interest, further conferences will be held this week concerning this dispute. The NCFO is looking forward to the meetings.

I want to thank you for your patience and support during these few years, but our work needs to be completed, so we can present the membership an agreement to vote on.

NCFO President Dean Devita

Coordinated Bargaining Coalition Statement

Washington, DC

Today, July 24, 2022, the Rail Unions, who are bargaining as part of the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way/SMART Mechanical Coalition, and the Carriers represented by the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC) began their presentations before the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) appointed President Biden. The hearings are scheduled to continue through Thursday, July 28, with Friday reserved for facilitation meetings with the parties and the PEB. Following the hearings, the PEB will issue recommendations for settlement of the national agreement dispute. A second thirty-day cooling off period will begin when those recommendations are issued, which should occur on or before August 15.

A summary of the proposals being advanced by the Rail Unions can be found at…/07/Union-PEB-Proposals_07_11_22.pdf, and a summary of the proposals being advanced by the NCCC can be found at…/2022/07/NCCC-Proposal-PEB-Position.pdf. The Unions’ proposals include a 5-year wage proposal seeking an increase of 31.2% when compounded, while the Carriers are asking the PEB to recommend 17% compounded over 5 years. On the issue of healthcare, the Unions are seeking status quo for employee costs sharing and only seeking slight increases in autism and hearing benefits that are long overdue. Despite employees keeping the Nation’s rail system operating during the pandemic as “essential employees,” the Carriers have the unmitigated gall to ask the PEB recommend massive healthcare concessions in both the form of drastic increases in employee costs and decreases in certain benefits for employees along with healthcare plan changes that only serve to further increase the records profits they are already reaping. In addition, to wages and healthcare, the Unions are also seeking to create a national sick leave policy and to add 3 new holidays, along with various craft specific work rule proposals.

As we have previously communicated, the Rail Unions remain united in their efforts to secure the best contract possible for our members. We will show this week that the Unions’ proposals are supported by current economic data and are more than warranted when compared to our memberships’ contribution to the record profits of the rail carriers.

Additional information will be provided as developments warrant. We appreciate your continuing support.

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).

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division and SMART Mechanical Unions are also bargaining as a coalition.

Collectively, these Unions represent approximately 115,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise 100% of the workforce who will be impacted by this round of negotiations.

National Mediation Board Update

Washington, DC


On July 15, 2022, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. established Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) No. 250, effective July 18, 2022, to investigate collective bargaining disputes between certain railroads represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee of the National Railway Labor Conference and certain of their employees represented by certain labor organizations.

President Biden has appointed the following members to Emergency Board 250:

Ira F. Jaffe, Chairman

Barbara C. Deinhardt, Member

David P. Twomey, Member

Pursuant to the Railway Labor Act, the Emergency Board will conduct a hearing and make a recommendation for settlement within 30 days of the President’s creation of the Emergency Board. No work stoppages, and no changes in the conditions out of which the disputes arose (except by agreement of the parties), are permissible following the creation of the Emergency Board and for the 30 days following the date the Emergency Board submits its report to the President.

The National Mediation Board (NMB) is an independent agency created by the Railway Labor Act, which governs labor management relations in the railroad and airline industries. To avoid serious disruptions to the Nation’s economy and protect the public interest, the Act imposes on carriers and their employees the duty of settling disputes through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. The NMB, headed by three Presidential appointees, has as its chief statutory responsibilities: (1) mediation of collective bargaining disputes; (2) determination of employee representation for collective bargaining processes; and (3) administration of a grievance arbitration system.

Contact: NMB Public Information Line: 202-692-5050