Reminder: Contract Ratification Ballots due November 20 in tentative national agreement

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, November 4 — On October 31, 2022, contract ratification ballots, instructions, and a synopsis of the agreement were mailed to approximately 24,000 members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen for voting on the tentative national agreement. Voting will conclude on Sunday, November 20, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Eligible members who have not received a contract ratification ballot by Wednesday, November 9, should request a replacement by calling the BLET National Division at (216) 241-2630, ext. 222.  When connected with the extension, please leave the following information:

  • your name, address and phone number;
  •  the division to which you belong;
  •  the railroad for which you work;
  •  the date you were promoted to locomotive engineer;
  •  your date of birth;
  •  the last four digits of your Social Security number; and
  • your email address.

All contract ratification replacement ballots will be distributed via email.  Therefore, members who do not leave a voicemail with their email address will not receive a contract ratification replacement ballot.

Members should remember that the contract ratification ballot replacement process is different than the Election of Officers ballot replacement process.

To download a copy of the tentative national agreement and the agreed upon Question & Answer document, please go to the BLET website and click on the “Members” link at the top:

https://members.ble-t.org/ .

A password is required to login. Members may have to complete a brief registration process in order to establish an account.

Additional information regarding the current round of national contract negotiations is available in the public area of the BLET website:

https://ble-t.org/national-contract-negotiations/ .

Q&A for the National negotiating team.

Send me the questions you want answered  to

Whiplashtrain@msn.com

I will compile questions for the next 8 days and send them off to the GCA  on 10/03/2022, for further handling to the National.

Please read the letter to all LC’s from GC Kent Psota attached below. 

All GCA 150 Local Chairmen,

By now all of you have had time to read and digest the attached letter from BLET President Pierce. To make sure that all of you have a chance to have your individual or your members questions submitted for answers and further clarification, please note the process that GCA 150 will administer to field these questions.

I would ask that each of our Local Chairmen compile the list of their division questions into one single comprehensive document. (Email Word or PDF is fine with us at the GCA) In your judgement, and when you believe that document appears to be complete and a good representation of the questions asked, please then submit that document to the GCA. The GCA office will then take the various documents submitted from the LC’s and condense them into a single document we will then send to the National Wage Team for answers. That does not mean if a question comes in at the last minute you should not send us that inquiry, absolutely do send it, but we at the GCA are preparing for a busy week compiling all of these questions into a single document for National Wage Team handling. Several of the questions received so far have been somewhat repetitious and that is to be expected, but the only “bad” question is the one which goes unasked, so if you have any inquiry now the time to ask. The GCA requests you to have these inquires submitted to us no later than October 4th, so all inquiries can make the docket.

I also want to direct you to the language in President Pierce’s letter indicated in bold font below:

As for the process going forward, General Chairmen  have fifteen (15) days from receipt of this letter to submit questions to my office pertaining to the terms of the attached TA. Those questions will then be consolidated  into a single document, and the National Wage Team will return to the bargaining table with SMART-TD and the Carriers to mutually agree upon the answers to those questions.

What this means is that the GCA is not going to be the final authority in answering these questions, nor is it the GCA’s jurisdiction to do so. The National Wage Team and the ND attorneys will be tasked with getting the comprehensive and concise final answers in their talks with the Carriers. While I recognize there’s a million questions, please note that only the National Wage Team can make determination of the final answers which will then be included in the forthcoming Tentative Agreement Q&A’s. That does not mean that we at the GCA cannot share our concerns with the Wage Team if asked, but we at the GCA will not be final authority on any of the answers given.

More updates to follow as things progress.

Fraternally,

Kent

Tentative Agreement Reached Early This Morning

Statement by
Jeremy Ferguson, President
SMART Transportation Division
and
Dennis Pierce, President
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen
Teamsters Rail Conference
on
Tentative Agreement Reached Early This Morning Between Unions Representing Conductors and Engineers and the Nation’s Class I Railroads

Early this morning following nearly three years of bargaining, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), a Division of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD) reached a tentative National Agreement with the nation’s largest freight rail carriers which includes wage increases, bonuses, and no increases to insurance copays and deductibles. For the first time our Unions were able to obtain negotiated contract language exempting time off for certain medical events from carrier attendance policies. Our Unions will now begin the process of submitting the tentative agreement to the rank and file for a ratification vote by the memberships of both unions.

The tentative agreement calls for an immediate wage increase of 14% once compounded with an additional 4% on July 1, 2023, and 4.5% on July 1, 2024. In addition, wage increases of 3% effective July 1, 2020, 3.5% effective July 1, 2021, and 7% effective July 1, 2022, will be fully retroactive, for a compounded increase of 24% over the 5-year term of the agreement. The agreement also includes annual lump-sum bonus payments totaling $5,000.

The parties’ Health and Welfare Plan point-of-service costs will remain unchanged; there will be no increases to copays or deductibles and there are no disruptions to the existing health care networks. After over 20 hours of negotiations, we were able to reach an agreement that freezes our members’ monthly health care contributions at the end of the agreement. No additional increases will apply to our monthly contributions while the parties bargain over the next National Agreement.

The solidarity shown by our members, essential workers to this economy who keep America’s freight trains moving, made the difference in our Unions obtaining agreement provisions that exceeded the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board. We listened when our members told us that a final agreement would require improvements to their quality of life as well as economic gains. As a result, this agreement includes agreement provisions that will create voluntary assigned days off for members working in thru freight service, and all members will receive one additional paid day off. Most importantly, for the first time ever, the agreement provides our members with the ability to take time away from work to attend to routine and preventive medical care, as well as exemptions from attendance policies for hospitalizations and surgical procedures.

This tentative agreement provides for the highest general wage increases over the life of the agreement in over 45 years. SMART-TD was successful in blocking the carriers’ attempts to fast track arbitration on crew-consist agreements, protecting two-person crews for the indefinite future. The Carriers’ demands for increases in point-of-service health care costs were blocked, along with their demands to charge married employees with children more for monthly health care contributions. Retroactive application of general wage increases and performance bonuses will provide our members with meaningful back pay checks in the coming weeks.

This agreement would not have been reached without the hard work of President Biden, Labor Secretary Walsh, Deputy Secretary Julie Su and others in the administration. Congressional leaders, including Senators Schumer, Durbin and Sanders, along with Speaker Pelosi listened to your requests and stayed out of our dispute, allowing for an agreement to be reached across the bargaining table, rather than through legislation.

This contract will not become final until our members have an opportunity to review its terms and approve it through a ratification vote.

Combined, the BLET and SMART-TD represent approximately 125,000 active and retired rail employees, approximately half of our membership is employed at Class I railroads that are party to this agreement.

Executive Order on Establishing an Emergency Board

All,

More info when I get it. This will be discussed that the meeting on Wednesday, July 20th.

Fraternally,

Steve Snyder


ALL BLET GCA 150 Local Chairmen,

The White House has released the following announcement that a PEB has been established. Our GCA offices have just concluded a call with the National Division. More info to follow.

Fraternally,

Kent

Whitehouse Press Release

Continue reading “Executive Order on Establishing an Emergency Board”

BLET to hold strike authorization vote

All GCA 150 Local Chairmen and Members,

One of the additional steps to verify or change your BLET mailing address (if necessary) can also be accessed by registering in the Members Area on the BLET website. After registering for your account found in the upper right-hand corner at https://ble-t.org/ you will then be able to access the Registered Member Area. Once you are registered as a Member you will find the following menu below where you can select the Update Personal Information and set your individual address and communication preferences. Your address on file with BLET will be the address used for upcoming ballot mailing purposes. It is imperative if a member believes their address could be incorrect it is corrected at once to ensure receiving a ballot(s).

Continue reading “BLET to hold strike authorization vote”

December Regular Meeting

Date: December 21st, 2022
Time: AM

Spokane Valley Eagles
16801 E Sprague Avenue
Spokane Valley, WA 99037