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Season 4, Episode 212

New sick leave policy for railroad workers, more improvements to come



Guest Name:

Tony Cardwell

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Supportive Documents:

President of the Brotherhood of Maintenance Way Employees of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED), Tony Cardwell, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to talk about a new sick leave agreement with BNSF. Cardwell also talked about the next steps for workers and the low staffing levels across the railroad industry.

The BMWED recently agreed to a deal with BNSF to provide workers with four days of sick leave. This new agreement follows the standards set by other carriers’ new contracts regarding sick leave. The deal leaves only one of the top four railroads to negotiate a new contract that includes sick leave days. This also gets the BMWED’s largest Class 1 bargaining unit a deal with sick leave days, ensuring that workers begin to earn benefits to better their lives.

These initial agreements are serving a greater purpose, Cardwell said. The next step is that once all their carriers have new agreements providing sick leave, the BMWED will seek greater workplace protections and a better work/life balance for workers. A significant part of the negotiations that helped push the carriers to agree to the sick leave days was the plea made by workers to have the same sick leave standards that regular workers would receive, Cardwell said. If it hadn’t been for the support of the American population, Cardwell believes the carriers wouldn’t have agreed to the sick leave demands. 

Meanwhile, staffing levels continue to lag behind the need to operate the railroads properly and safely. It’s not only a matter of hiring to fill current open positions, but to also fill the upcoming gaps due to retirement and turnover, Cardwell said. It’s another part of the ongoing battles with the carriers to increase hiring, and the BMWED is seeking the support of the American Public. Cardwell said that the costs to hire new members is the main issue for the railroad carriers, despite making record profits, they are refusing to hire more workers.

To hear more from Cardwell, please listen to the entire show above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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