Unions turn down pay-advance offer from railroads

Monthly payments of up to $600 would be repaid when new contract is reached

Courtesy text of trains.com

Rail unions have turned down a proposal for advance payments while bargaining over a new national contract continues, according to the organization representing railroads in the negotiations. The offer to provide advance payments of up to $600 per month will remain on the table, railroads said.

The National Carriers’ Conference Committee, the bargaining arm of the National Railway Labor Conference, said in a press release that the proposal is the “best way to put money in employees’ hands now” given that “the issues on the national bargaining table are complex and there is more work to be done before complete agreements can be realized.”

Under the railroads’ proposal, the payments of up to $600 would be made monthly through the end of the year, or until a new agreement is reached, whichever is earlier. The money paid to employees would be deducted from any future pay increase, or retroactive or lump-sum payment, that results from the current negotiations.

The Coordinated Bargaining Coalition, in a statement rejecting the offer, described it  as “somewhere between a loan and a payday advance” and “further evidence that the NCCC has no intentions of reaching a voluntary settlement any time soon.”

The coalition reiterated its request to move the negotiations from mediation to arbitration [see “Unions declare impasse in negotiations …,”Trains News Wire, Jan. 20, 2022], saying that “nothing has changed during the four mediated bargaining sessions” to date. The railroads continue to seek work rule and health and welfare benefits, the union said. “Even more ridiculous and unacceptable is their refusal to agree to meaningful wage increases while making record profits during the highest level of inflation seen in years.”

CSX Transportation recently reached its own deal with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division (SMART-TD) for similar advance payments against the future contract [see “CSX, union reach agreement …,” News Wire, April 20, 2022]. A the time, the railroad said it intended to reach similar agreements with other unions.

The NCCC extended the offer to all unions in the current negotiations two days later.

Updated: April 28, 2022 — 2:08 PM

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