Progress Through Unity

Town Hall Meeting with GP Sellers

SMART General President Sellers has been travelling across North America specifically to hear members share their views and concerns.

To ensure everyone, INCLUDING YOU, have the chance to be heard, he will be holding a first of its kind live Town Hall Forum with SMART members on November 2nd from 6:30 to 7pm Eastern.

This online forum is your chance for you and your co-workers to have your questions heard and answered directly by the General President.

To attend the town hall forum you MUST register online at: http://www.summitwebcasting.com/webcast/smart/

Please share this invitation with your fellow members to ensure everyone has a chance to attend this important event.

New Employee Timetables & Log Of Changes

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SMART-TD NJ Election Recommendations November 2017

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Have train riders found a sneaky new way to cheat on NJ Transit fares?

A new type of fare-beater is becoming a money-sapping problem for NJ Transit, using a half-price ticket to which they’re not entitled, claims the head of a conductor’s union.

The union boss took the extraordinary step of asking NJ Transit’s Board of Directors to halt vending machine sales of senior citizen and disabled passengers discount tickets.

Stephen J. Burkert, general chairman of SMART-Transportation Division Local 60, argues that those sharply-discounted tickets should only be sold by agents or conductors.

“Our crews report that 25 to 30 percent of all tickets collected are reduced fare tickets ,” he said. “I have people in their 30’s giving conductors senior tickets and the disabled program is even more abused by passengers. … We are not allowed to ask for ID.

“This is a lot of money being scammed or outright stolen by passengers who know how to play the system simply by using a ticket vending machine,” he said.

But NJ Transit contradicted Burkert, saying that reduced fare tickets account for only 10 percent of total fares.

“Train crews are allowed to inspect identification for customers presenting a reduced fare ticket,” said Lisa Torbic, an NJ Transit spokeswoman. “Violators of the reduced fare policy may be asked to pay the appropriate fare.”

If they refuse to pay the higher fare, they have to “exit the train at the next stop,” Torbic said.

But Burkert claims that NJ Transit put out a special bulletin to crews about five years ago “forbidding us from asking (for ID). So nobody exits the train at the next station stop.”

Passengers who use senior and disabled tickets can save significant money, paying $7.65 instead of the regular $16.75 New York to Trenton fare, Burkert said.

The discount is available to senior citizens age 62 and older, and to riders with disabilities. Passengers are supposed to show an NJ Transit reduced fare card, a driver’s license or other proof of age with their fare, according to the agency’s website.

A passenger applying for a reduced fare card for a disability has to provide medical proof from a physician to qualify. NJ Transit also honors reduced fare cards issued by the Port Authority, New York’s MTA, Medicaid cards and other documents that show a passenger’s age.

National Negotiations Update: Coordinated Bargaining Group Unions Reach Tentative National Contract Agreement

Independence, Ohio, October 5 — Rail Unions making up the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) announced today that they have reached a Tentative National Agreement with the Nation’s Freight Rail Carriers. The CBG is comprised of six unions: the American Train Dispatchers Association; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (a Division of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers; the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers / SEIU; and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART TD).

On Wednesday, October 4th, the CBG’s full Negotiating Team met in Independence, Ohio for a review of the terms of the proposed voluntary agreement. Following that review, each of the CBG Unions’ Negotiating Teams unanimously endorsed the Tentative Agreement. On Thursday, October 5th, the involved General Chairpersons of SMART TD, BRS and BLET met as well and those groups also unanimously endorsed the Tentative Agreement for consideration by the respective membership of each Union.

The Tentative Agreement, which will be submitted to the memberships of each involved Union in the coming weeks, includes an immediate wage increase of 4%, with an additional 2.5% six months later on July 1, 2018 and an additional 3% one year later on July 1, 2019. In addition, wage increases of 2% effective July 1, 2016 and another 2% effective July 1, 2017 will be fully retroactive through implementation, for a compounded increase of 9.84% over an 18-month period and 13.14% over the 5-year contract term (this includes the First General Wage Increase of 3% implemented on January 1, 2015).

All benefits existing under the Health and Welfare Plan will remain in effect unchanged and there are no disruptions to the existing healthcare networks. While some employee participation costs are increased, the tentative agreement maintains reasonable maximum out-of-pocket protections for our members. The TA also adds several new benefits to the Health and Welfare Plan for the members of the involved unions and, importantly, it requires that the Rail Carriers will, on average, continue to pay 90% of all of our members’ point of service costs.

On a matter of critical importance, the employees’ monthly premium contribution is frozen at the current rate of $228.89. The frozen rate can only be increased by mutual agreement at the conclusion of negotiations in the next round of bargaining that begins on 1/1/2020.

In addition, the CBG steadfastly refused to accept the carriers’ demands for changes to work rules that would have imposed significant negative impacts on every one of our members. As a result of that rejection, the Tentative Agreement provides for absolutely no changes in work rules for any of the involved unions.

“This Tentative Agreement provides real wage increases over and above inflation, health care cost increases far below what the carriers were demanding, freezes our monthly health plan cost contribution at the current level, provides significant retroactive pay and imposes no changes to any of our work rules,” said the CBG Union Presidents. “This is a very positive outcome for a very difficult round of negotiations. We look forward to presenting the Tentative Agreement to our respective memberships for their consideration.”

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Collectively, the CBG unions represent more than 85,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 58% of the workforce that will be impacted by the outcome of the current bargaining round.

Absentee Ballot Deadline Approaching

Today marks five weeks until the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. The best way to make sure your vote counts is to vote absentee by mail before Election Day. That is because early voting eliminates the possibility that you will miss an election due to an uncertainty in your work schedule or a family emergency.

To begin the absentee vote-by-mail process, click on SMART TD’s Legislative Action Center (LAC) link below, select your state and then scroll down to the section on absentee voting. In addition to absentee voting and voter registration, the LAC election page also provides basic candidate information (including legislative races) making the LAC a one-stop election portal.

In solidarity,
John Risch
National Legislative Director
SMART Transportation Division

Election “Take 5” Flyer

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GC Report October 2017

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SMART Army SMART GP Video On Relief Efforts

GC Report September 2017

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