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Season 3, Episode 207

Railroad workers consider contract with largest pay raise in 50 years

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Dennis Pierce

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The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen National President Dennis Pierce joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and discussed the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) being considered by the 12 railroad unions and explained what could happen if any of the unions fail to ratify the CBA.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen represents over 57,000 members.

Pierce provided details on the proposed CBA, which included a 24 percent raise over several years - the largest increase members have seen in nearly 50 years. However, he said the raise must be weighed against inflation, which is a challenge to predict.

One of the major sticking points in the negotiations was the railroads’ attendance policies and 

Pierce felt the unions’ made progress on this issue. Under the current CBA, members were always on-call and docked points for taking time off, even for medical appointments and sick time. The new contract, if ratified, would allow workers to take two days off after working six days – creating a full 90 days workers can take off without accruing points, he added.

Ultimately, it will be up to the unions’ membership to ratify the contract. If any union rejects the proposal, a strike or management lockout is possible, along with potential action by Congress to force a contract, Pierce added.

According to Fortune.com, as of Oct. 14, six unions have ratified the contract and five will vote on it in the coming weeks. One union – the third largest railway union (Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division) – has rejected the CBA but pledged additional negotiations before making a decision to walk off the job.

Listen to the entire episode to learn more about the railroad contract negotiations.


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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