Joint Statement from the BMWED and SMART-MD regarding the start of National Bargaining
Published: Nov 5 2019 2:42PM
On November 1, 2019, the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC) served notice to initiate bargaining with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED-IBT) and the Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation – Mechanical Department (SMART-MD) pursuant to Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act. The NCCC’s Section 6 Notice to the BMWED can be found here for your review.
Also on Nov. 1, public announcements were released by various rail union leaders regarding their efforts to engage in coordinated bargaining with the railroads this round, through the formation of the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC). While many members have inquired why the BMWED and SMART-MD are not part of the CBC, neither the BMWED nor SMART-MD were presented with an opportunity to join the CBC. Nevertheless, we congratulate the CBC on their unity, and we wish them success is this round of National negotiations. Our understanding is that the NCCC has also served notice on many of the CBC unions and has made it very clear that the railroads are focused on addressing crew consist during this round. BMWED and SMART-MD remain hopeful that if the CBC reaches an agreement at the national table, it will advance the interests of all rail workers.
Copies of Section 6 Notices (CLICK HERE)
Our members have craft-specific issues that have not been addressed at the bargaining table in prior rounds of national negotiations, and the BMWED and SMART-MD intend to bargain over the specific needs and interests of our members this round. In the last round of bargaining, BMWED and SMART-MD prioritized preserving health benefits and opposing increases in employee contributions for health care, and suggested ways for the carriers to save on health care without reducing benefits or increasing employee contributions. The other unions did not place a similar priority on health benefits in the last round and did not want to pursue our proposal for the carriers to save on health care without reducing benefits or increasing employee contributions. This was another factor in our planning for this round of bargaining. However, we continue to remain willing to coordinate with other crafts on ideas and solutions that address concerns of all railroad workers, such as how to grapple with the rail carriers’ continued attack on health and welfare benefits. While we anticipate another challenging round of national negotiations, we will look to BMWED and SMART-MD members for their engagement and solidarity.