Brothers and Sisters,

Just some advice to help combat a possible attendance violation:

If you are sick and must stay home, attempt to use paid leave time. When it is denied, if you must, use LOS. Be sure you contact a local supervisor and inform them you are sick. Document every conversation with the supervisor (who, time and date, details). If you can get into the doctor, go. Get a diagnosis and treatment plan from your doctor. The little square piece of paper saying you saw a doctor is not good enough.  It must be a diagnosis and treatment plan. If you run afoul of the attendance policy and have done all of these things, we will do everything we can to take care of the issue.

Depending on the stance of BNSF that could include investigation to and including arbitration.  As of this mailing, the Carrier is still going forward with letting the Division Management address these Attendance concerns, should we see issues, which we are all assuming we will remember document, document, document.  Should you need a Medical Leave of Absence if you are facing an extended absence from work (such as quarantine) request one with your local management and follow the instructions of contacting HR or the Medical Department below.

If you LOS and you have no documentation of your illness and have not contacted a supervisor we likely cannot help you. The BNSF attendance policy has been cemented through the arbitration process. Every attendance case has to be looked at individually. If there are mitigating circumstances and documentation for them, only then, do we stand a chance.  Without solid documentation, arbitrators routinely dismiss the Claimant’s plea that he/she was sick.

BNSF’s most recent instructions:

“For any BNSF employee who may have been exposed to COVID-19, we are taking appropriate measures that are consistent with guidance from the CDC and local public health agencies. If you think you have been exposed, or are displaying symptoms consistent with a respiratory illness, you should contact your primary physician for treatment and testing guidance. If you are instructed to quarantine, you should follow those instructions and contact your local HR or Medical Department representative for further instructions before returning to work. As we continue to evaluate specific employee situations, all attendance policies and medical leave provisions of governing collective bargaining agreements remain in effect for scheduled and salaried employees. Attendance is handled locally, and supervisors will address attendance issues related to coronavirus with discretion considering this unique situation.”

All of us from the GCA office, inclusive of our Local Chairmen, are here to represent every member to the fullest extent.  The membership must also be vigilant in protecting themselves if they have an attendance related issue as we are tasked to work with those tools the members provide us.


Kent Psota
General Chairman

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