Mid-January national negotiations update

January 17, 2011

Following an eighth negotiating session in mid-January with the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), UTU International President Mike Futhey said, “We continue to make progress through interest-based bargaining toward developing a common framework recognizing the needs of both sides, and we are prepared to reach a voluntary agreement with the carriers.”

The NCCC represents BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and many smaller railroads. Some 40,000 UTU members employed by those railroads are covered by the national agreement. The national agreement came open for amendment Jan. 1, 2010, and remains in force until amendments are concluded under provisions of the Railway Labor Act.

Three additional dates for national negotiations have been scheduled between the UTU and the NCCC in February, March and April.

Interest-based bargaining involves joint problem solving whereby both sides seek to understand the needs of the other. It differs from demand-based bargaining, where each side’s list is endless.

“Our negotiating team has been armed with a solid understanding of carrier economics and fact-based arguments justifying our Section 6 notice that was prepared by our general chairpersons,” Futhey said.

In addition to UTU lead negotiator President Futhey, UTU officers on the negotiating team include Assistant President Arty Martin; National Legislative Director James Stem; UTU International Vice Presidents Robert Kerley and Delbert Strunk; and General Chairpersons John Lesniewski (CSX, GO 049), Pate King (NS, GO 680) and Doyle Turner (CSX, GO 347).

Negotiations also continue between the NCCC and two other rail-labor coalitions.

One, which includes the Transportation Communications Union, the American Train Dispatchers Association, the International Association of Machinists, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the Transport Workers Union, previously applied for services of the National Mediation Board (NMB), and a mediator was assigned.

A second coalition, which includes the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Blacksmiths, the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, requested the mediation services of the NMB on Jan. 11.

That leaves only the UTU in voluntary negotiations with the NCCC.