Courtesy of bmwe.org
BMWED membership voted against ratification of the tentative national agreement reached with the Class I freight railroads, sending the two sides back to the bargaining table and resetting the countdown to a potential work stoppage.
“The majority of the BMWED membership rejected the tentative national agreement and we recognize and understand that result,” President Tony D. Cardwell said. “I trust that railroad management understands that sentiment as well. Railroaders are discouraged and upset with working conditions and compensation and hold their employer in low regard. Railroaders do not feel valued. They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness. The result of this vote indicates that there is a lot of work to do to establish goodwill and improve the morale that has been broken by the railroads’ executives and Wall Street hedge fund managers.”
The American Arbitration Association counted and verified the election results. In total, 11,845 BMWED members submitted ballots, 6,646 against ratification and 5,100 approving the tentative agreement. 99 remaining ballots were submitted blank or voided for some other user error.
“The membership voted in record numbers on this tentative agreement, exhibiting that they are paying close attention and are engaged in the process,” President Cardwell said. “BMWED members are concerned with the direction of their employers and the mismanagement and greed in which they have consistently implemented, and are united in their resolve to improve their working conditions across the entire Class I rail network.”
The rejection of the tentative agreement results in a “status quo” period where the BMWED will reengage bargaining with the Class I freight carriers. That status quo period will extend to 5 days after Congress reconvenes, which is currently set for Nov. 14. Assuming Congress returns to session on the 14th there could be no “self help” until after the 19th.