Union organizers want you to believe that if you choose union representation, you control your lot and working conditions. But several institutions – including the union leadership, the arbitrators and the congress – could very well have the final say. Union organizers speak boldly. They have to ask themselves if they can really deliver. The unions formed by the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition are: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); The Brotherhood of Locomotive and Railway Drivers / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); The Brotherhood of Railway Messengers (BRS); International Association of Machinists (IAM); The International Boiler Brotherhood (IBB); National Firefighters Conference/SeiU (NCFO); The International Brotherhood of Electricity Workers (IBEW); Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union /IAM (TCU), including the TCU`s Carmen Brotherhood Railway; and the transport division of the International Association of Worksheet Workers, Air, Rail and Transport (SMART-TD). Michael Persoon, a lawyer with the Chicago law firm Despres, Schwartz-Geoghegan, filed the complaint on behalf of union workers. Union Pacific is represented by Jeremy Glenn of Cozen O`Connor in Chicago. Neither responded immediately to an email request for comment. If your gut tells you it sounds too good to be true, you have a good intestine.
There is no guarantee that a point requested by a union will ever be part of a final collective agreement. Negotiations begin with an empty slate. What other union members have in their agreements does not indicate what a brand new agreement will imply or exclude. There are no negotiation deadlines. Wages and working conditions remain the status quo, while the first agreement is negotiated. In total, THE CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railway workers covered by the national agreements of the various organizations and represent more than 80% of the workforce that will be affected by this round of negotiations. Negotiating teams of 10 unions formed by the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) for this round of national freight rail negotiations participated in a zoom conference on July 28 with National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC) President Brendan Branon and carrier representatives. This meeting was conducted exclusively to verify PowerPoint presentations against the respective views of each page on the issues contained in its Section 6 submissions. Although there were no negotiations during the Zoom conference, the meeting was beneficial to both sides in moving the process forward in good faith in order to reach a voluntary agreement. In addition to classifying a minor dispute, the railways also sought an explanation that “the union`s threat of strike against Union Pacific against the RLA is contrary to the RLA in attempting to circumvent the mandatory and exclusive authority of the National Railroad Adjustment Board.” More than 40,000 smart TD members are involved in these national negotiations with the NCCC, and the resulting agreements often establish models for other negotiated rail contracts.