Train and engine service employees on Birmingham Terminal Railway – a Watco property – have voted to be represented by the SMART Transportation Division.

Rich Ross, SMART Transportation Division’s director of organizing, thanked Alabama State Legislative Director Neil Elders and International organizers Mike Lewis and Calvin Studivant for their efforts. Also assisting in the organizing drive were Local 622 Chairperson Justin Humphries and Local 622 Vice Local Chairperson Jacob Lane, whom Ross praised for “their dedication and hard work during this campaign.” Ross also thanked International staff member Cara McGinty for her assistance.

Formerly known as Birmingham Southern Railroad, the 76-mile line provides service to more than 30 customers in the Birmingham, Ala., region, and connects with BNSF, CSX and Norfolk Southern.

UTU-represented school bus operators in Upper Darby, Pa., and members of UTU Local 172, turned back a raid by the Teamsters, voting overwhelmingly to keep the UTU as their bargaining representative on this First Student property.
The UTU’s ability to negotiate industry-leading contracts, process grievances and achieve workplace safety improvements were cited by many members as the reason they voted “UTU yes” once again. Local 172 members chose the UTU as their first bargaining representative eight years ago when the property was unorganized.
Rich Ross, the UTU’s director of organizing, credited organizer Mike Lewis and Bus Department Alternate Vice President Calvin Studivant as “a brain trust second to none in explaining the benefits of UTU representation.”
Ross also thanked International President Mike Futhey for providing the resources necessary. Since Futhey took office in January 2008, the UTU has organized 28 new properties and turned back two raids on UTU properties.
Also singled out for praise were numerous officers at Local 1594 (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority), including President Waverly Harris, Vice Local Chairpersons Brian Caldwell and Curtis Fulmore, and Treasurer Cynthia Kelly-Nash, along with Local 1596 General Chairperson (Transit Management of Charlotte, N.C.) Alvy Hughes.
Local 172 officials who worked diligently to turn back the Teamsters raid were Vice Local Chairperson Denise Hall and Secretary Kathy Sitongia. Ross said that “they have developed a loyalty among members.”


UTU-represented members employed by Intermodal Services of America (ISA), which does contract switching for Union Pacific at Joliet, Ill., and Chicago, have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

ISA voluntarily recognized the UTU as its transportation workers’ bargaining representative in 2011.

The five-year contract provides for retroactive pay, a steep jump in hourly wages, a 401(k) plan, a health insurance plan, sick pay, paid vacation, and a discipline program requiring all investigations include the presence of a UTU representative.

Rich Ross, the UTU’s director of organizing, and International Vice President Paul Tibbit negotiated the agreement. “Paul met with ISA workers on all three shifts to learn their concerns, and brought these concerns to the bargaining table to produce an outstanding first agreement with ISA,” Ross said.

Mike Lewis

In its latest organizing victory, the UTU now represents maintenance-of-way employees on Missouri & North Arkansas Railroad, a RailAmerica property.

Contract negotiations, led by UTU Alternate Vice President Doyle Turner, will begin shortly. Turner heads the UTU’s shortline outreach program.

Rich Ross, the UTU’s director of organizing, and International organizer Mike Lewis were commended by International President Mike Futhey for this 28th UTU organizing win over the past 48 months.

Missouri & North Arkansas Railroad operates some 530 miles of line in Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri, with trackage rights over Union Pacific and connections with BNSF and Kansas City Southern. Primary commodities include coal, grain, frozen foods, minerals, steel, chemicals and asphalt.

A benefit fund has been established for the family of Norfolk Southern conductor Christopher Ochoa, a member of UTU Local 1895, Chicago, who died Oct. 17.
Ochoa is survived by his wife, Elly Medrano-Ochoa, and children: Daniel Medrano, age 15; Brian, age four; and twins Alexander and Ayden, age three.
Ocha was a Marine Corps veteran and had six years’ service on Norfolk Southern.
Contributions to the Christopher Ochoa Memorial Benefit Fund may be made at the Chicago Community Bank at 1110 W. 35th St., Chicago, IL 60609, or at 11157 S. Ewing Ave., Chicago, IL 60617, or mailed to Chicago Community Bank, Attn: Gina Fezler, 1110 W. 35th St., Chicago, IL 60609.
Local 1895 delegate and UTU Director of Organizing Rich Ross said, “Brothers and sisters helping each other and their families in time of need goes to the very core of union brotherhood and sisterhood.”