National rail contract negotiators named

December 22, 2009

The UTU national rail contract negotiating team has been named by UTU International President Mike Futhey, who will serve as the UTU’s chief negotiator.

Other members of this bargaining round’s negotiating committee include Assistant President Arty Martin; International Vice Presidents Robert Kerley and Delbert Strunk; General Chairpersons John Lesniewski (GO 049), Pate King (GO 680) and Doyle Turner (GO 347); and UTU General Counsel Clint Miller.

Futhey headed the UTU bargaining team that negotiated the most recent member-ratified amendments to the existing national agreement.

The national rail contract between the UTU and railroads represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee becomes amendable Jan. 1. Both sides exchanged desired amendments affecting rates of pay, rules and working conditions on Nov. 2.

Railroads represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee include BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Soo Line, Union Pacific and numerous smaller carriers.

Some 40,000 UTU members are affected by these negotiations, and the resulting amendments frequently set patterns for other negotiated rail agreements.

The existing national contract will remain in force until negotiated amendments are ratified by UTU members under the craft autonomy provisions of the UTU Constitution. Negotiations are governed by provisions of the Railway Labor Act.

Earlier in December, carriers withdrew one of their demands, entitled “Staffing and Consolidation,” in exchange for the UTU withdrawing a lawsuit alleging that demand was inappropriate for national handling.

The UTU interpreted that carrier demand as seeking one-person crew operations. A federal court had ruled in March 2006 — during the previous round of national negotiations — that the UTU had no obligation to bargain nationally over a carrier demand to eliminate conductor and brakemen positions on all through-freight trains.

To keep current on this round of national handling, stay tuned to our website