As the expression goes, “There is strength in numbers.” That being said, our union’s about to get stronger.

Through the efforts of SMART-TD’s Michigan State Legislative Director Don Roach and TD Organizer Nick Greficz (GO 687 in Detroit, Mich.), our union has organized the operating personnel of Lake State Railway Company (LSRC) in Saginaw, Mich.

In this photo courtesy of LSRC employee & future member Tom Scott, a Lake State Railway train operates in Michigan.

In an effort that began in 2020, brothers Roach and Greficz had their goal realized in July when our newest brothers and sisters voted to certify and become a SMART-TD local under GO 049.

At the time of the certification vote, there were 39 LSRC employees eligible to become members of the union; however, as a testament to our new members’ work, LSRC has been expanding its customer base and has been hiring more operating crew. By the time their local is officially part of the union, they estimate that they will have membership in the mid-50s with plans on further expansion.

These new members service rail customers ranging from Wixom, Mich., as far north as Gaylord, Mich., and east to Port Huron. They serve a wide range of industries in their territory. The operation is based in Saginaw, the site of LSRC’s largest yard and hub of operations. In addition to Saginaw, LSRC has yards in Flint, Wixom, Midland, Bay City, Pinconning, Tawas, Alpena, Grayling and Gaylord.

In speaking with SLD Roach, he wanted it to be known that SMART-TD is the only union representing the employees of this short line and will be representing trainmen in all crafts. He said, “It took a few years, but we finally got it done. Organizer Nick Greficz deserves much of the credit. He was the boots on the ground, and we couldn’t have pulled this off without him.”

SLD Roach began his career with the railroad working this line as an engineer for CSXT prior to the Class I leasing the track rights to LSRC. When LSRC took over this line and serviced his old territory as a non-union shop, he took it personally.

“It’s infuriating when Class I railroads lease these tracks to non-union railroads. It makes it personal for me. To see our former members working without the benefits of a union contract is unacceptable. I want to thank the LSRC employees for reaching out to SMART and voicing their concerns.” Roach said.

In the case of LSRC employees organizing into SMART-TD, Director Roach’s personal victory has become a victory for our organization.

Canadian Pacific’s acquisition of the Central Maine & Quebec Railway (CM&Q) was approved by the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) on May 1, and will take effect June 18, 2020.
The purchase from Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC, officially by the wholly owned Soo Line subsidiary of CP, was originally announced Nov. 20, 2019, and with approval now gives the Class I carrier trackage and facilities running from St. Jean, Quebec, Canada, to Searsport, Maine.
In a filing with the STB, CP said it plans to upgrade CM&Q’s system to Class III standards with an investment of up to $75 million. STB members had no objections to the acquisition and dismissed comments and conditional requests by Springfield Terminal Railway Company, among others.
CM&Q owns approximately 244 miles of rail lines in Vermont and Maine and has operating rights across another 57 miles, according to the STB. The Canadian portion of CM&Q has about 237 miles of track which also will be transferred in the sale.
SMART Transportation Division represents 52 members on the CM&Q in the Transportation, Mechanical and Engineering Departments who belong to GO-049, which is represented by General Chairman Rick Lee.
Read the STB’s decision.

The SMART Transportation Division’s CSX B&O General Committee (GO 049) has reached agreement with Bombardier Transit Services on a new contract for employees who will operate the Maryland to Washington commuter service known as MARC.

A new agreement is required due to the selection of Bombardier to operate the service after CSX announced it would not renew its current contract with the agency. 

The new agreement will provide wages and working conditions very similar to those enjoyed by our members who currently operate the service under the CSX collective bargaining agreement. Bombardier will accept applications for employment from CSX employees, with first priority given to those who are currently operating the service, followed by those who are qualified but not currently assigned to the service, and finally to all CSX employees on the Northern Mid Atlantic seniority roster.

Bombardier will send invitation letters to the employees who are currently assigned or qualified to operate the service. All others who are interested in applying for employment should contact Bombardier directly.

A hiring pool will be created in the event that applications exceed the number of positions available at startup. CSX employees who accept employment with Bombardier will be placed on the new seniority roster in the same relative order as on the CSX roster. The terms and conditions for a leave of absence from CSX are still being negotiated.

The negotiating team was led by General Chairperson Steve Mavity, with the assistance of Assistant President/GS&T John Previsich, and included Vice Chairpersons Jeremy Ferguson and Jamie Modesitt.

“The team did an excellent job of securing National Agreement wages and working conditions for employees of the new operator,” said Previsich, who added, “this will protect current employees who choose to work for the new operator and, in addition, provide industry-standard wages and benefits for all future employees of the service.”