Railroads represented by the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC) resumed negotiations on August 22 with a coalition representing the 12 railroad unions after the August 18 release of Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) Recommendations No. 250 to change national agreements setting wages, benefits and work rules affecting some 125,000 unionized railroad workers.
Under the provisions of the Railway Labor Act (RLA), the parties have until September 16 to reach an interim settlement – subject to member ratification – after which workers can strike or carriers can lockout, which would likely prompt Congress to end any nationwide rail shutdown. by imposing a third-party settlement.
If a tentative agreement is reached before September 16 – or if both parties agree to extend negotiations beyond September 16 pending a settlement – that tentative agreement will be provided to members of each of the 12 unions. for approval. Failure to ratify by one or more of the union memberships could result in a strike.
In an effort to correct the misinformation that has spread among members, the two largest railway unions, primarily representing railway and motor service employees, have released a document, PEB 250 Myths vs Facts, dispelling many popular myths (links, below). The two unions are the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Transport Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transport Workers (SMART-TD).
Two other facts that dispel misinformation prevalent among members are that railroad employees are quitting their jobs in large numbers and that there are few candidates for jobs available on the railroads. As the NRLC (National Railroad Labor Conference) observes:
- In the first six months of 2022, each railroad’s voluntary “dropout rate” was between 2% and 3.7%, just a fraction of the 13.1% dropout rate reported by the Bureau. of Labor Statistics for the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector.
- The railroads outperformed the overall labor market in attracting new recruits. For 2021, the railways reported more than 42 applicants for each vacancy, which is well above the 25 applicants per benchmark vacancy cited by workforce planning experts.
- The railways reported an even higher number of applicants per available job in the first six months of 2022. One caveat, voluntary from the railways, is that in some locations, particularly those in remote areas, there There are fewer applicants, but the railroads have responded by offering relocation bonuses and other incentives.
Below are links to the seven Myths vs. Facts slides that BLET and SMART-TD distributed to dispel the misinformation being spread: