Progress Through Unity

About Steve Burkert

General Chairman Burkert’s Weekly “HOT TOPICS” News

In an effort to better communicate information as quickly as possible to the Membership here is the ” HOT TOPICS” for this week.

A) I worked with Labor Relations on Managers Level of Appeals and also outstanding claims that we are still in discussions to resolve informally.

B) I attended our monthly meeting concerning the Conductor Training Program or CTP. We discussed the mentor side of the program and how to improve the communication between crews and students. We also discussed what ongoing training the students must have during the CTP. The issue about students not having radios while on OJT was discussed and should be resolved going forward.

C) I was involved in 2 separate issues this week alone where our Members reported either an unsafe condition, unsafe equipment or unsafe practices while they were working. The quick action of the members notifying me, in these cases with pictures, undoubtedly saved members and the public from serious injuries or worse. I urge you to please report something that is unsafe, don’t think it was already turned in or it is someone else’s job. The saying that the “life saved could be your own” is always accurate in our profession.

D) I would like all Members who were forced to erroneously take 24 or 48 hours rest under NJT HOS FLAG time period to email me full details of those days. Please include your name, emp#, job symbol you were forced off for the day and full lost earnings. I have already discussed this claim with Labor Relations and we are progressing it forward. Please send your email to sburkert@utulocal60.com

E) Nominations for Local Officers will be held at our next Local 60 meeting on Sunday Oct. 1st, next weekend. The offices up for nomination are President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, (3) Trustees and Alternate Legislative Representative. You can be nominated at the meeting or have 5 Members sign a sheet nominating you for the spot desired, the sheet must be handed in at the meeting.

F) Next week I will be very busy again with Hearings in Trenton involving NJT. I will also be having meetings with other elected officials and those who are seeking elected positions to discuss Members issues. Train staffing, Member safety and Designated Funding for NJT will be discussed.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members. sburkert@utulocal60.com

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

General Chairman Burkert’s Weekly “HOT TOPICS” News

In an effort to better communicate information as quickly as possible to the Membership here is the ” HOT TOPICS” for this week.

A) I attended a meeting with NJT Labor Relations for Directors Level of Appeals. All of the Members Grievances that were denied at a Manager’s Level are discussed at this level automatically, unless settled beforehand. If the Carrier rules against the grievances at Directors Level then I will send them to a SBA as per our Agreement. Special Board of Adjustment hearings are conducted with an arbitrator from the National Mediation Board as a neutral person to review each case and give a decision.

B) I had meetings with the Carrier to start compressing some of the work assignments. This would take some of the shorter jobs and make them longer by changing the assigned trains per day. The Carrier has too many jobs with not enough members to work them, so by compressing some assignments we would have more members available to work consistently blanked jobs.

C) I had meetings with the Carrier about “clearing passenger trains at final terminals”. The trains are not properly staffed at final terminals due to crew responsibilities, Ticket Collectors not assigned or blanked and the train equipment itself.(ie: Multi-Levels) I will continue to work this issue with both crew and passenger safety in mind.

D) I, along with Ron Sabol NJSLD, had the opportunity to sit and discuss with Assemblymen Dan Benson from the 14th District issues that affect our members. We discussed overcrowding, understaffed trains and safety concerns. Assemblymen Benson is a frequent passenger on our trains and has observed first hand the conditions we work under. I will continue to have meetings with him in the future, along with other politicians and civic leaders to protect our members.

E) I, along with Ron Sabol NJSLD, again met with Phil Murphy, Democratic candidate for NJ Governor. I expressed our concerns about the lack of “designated funding” that would not only cover equipment purchases but also expenses for our Members who work the trains in passenger or yard service. It is unfair to our Members to bear the brunt of the consequences because New Jersey Transit has not planned properly for the future.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the Members. sburkert@utulocal60.com

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

General Chairman Burkert’s Weekly “HOT TOPICS” News

In an effort to better communicate information as quickly as possible to the Membership here is the “HOT TOPICS” for this week.

A) There is a Local 60 meeting this Sunday at 10 AM. Linden VFW, at Linden Station Eastbound side.

B) I attended a new hire class in Maplewood on Wednesday 9/6, there are 17 new members in the class. This class is the third one this year, hopefully there will be 1 more starting before the year ends. The classes are a direct result of my asking for your MISSED TRANSPORTATION SLIPS. I could sit in a meeting and show where we are short-staffed on trains and desperately needed more help.

C) I have filed 158 claims against the Carrier so far this year on Members behalf for violation of our Agreement. The total grievances is in the thousands since some claims are for entire extra lists or entire ACTP/CTP classes.

D) The Members who were ordered to take 24 hours rest under the NJT FLAG HOS change, please start gathering accurate records. I have filed a claim on your behalf for entire lost earnings for those days. I will let you know when I need the information. If you were on an EXTRA LIST and don’t know what earnings you lost please have the dates and we can work the issue from that point.

E) Please make sure that your address is correct with the SMART TD office. We have an election coming up and need your correct address for the ballot mailing. Please send updated info to emitchell@utulocal60.com

F) I again attended the NJT Board of Directors Meeting today with your NJ State Legislative Director Ron Sabol. I used the opportunity to discuss and set up future meetings with the Carrier over issues that are important to you the Members. We are the only Union that attends the monthly meeting on a regular basis to keep current with what the Carrier plans to do in the future. Attending these meetings allows me to plan for your future.

G) RAILMEN FOR CHILDREN GOLF is on Saturday 9/16 at Shawnee Golf Resort, please come out and support the cause.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the members.

Thank You,

General Chairman

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman Burkert’s Weekly “HOT TOPICS” News

I have been asked to update the Members, on a weekly basis, on “HOT TOPICS” that directly affect them or their families. Please leave me feedback on these topics at sburkert@utulocal60.com .

A) Time cards for this week must be in the box by Wednesday night 8/30, due to the Labor Day Holiday.

B) On the Conductor Training Program, I have filed numerous claims on behalf of our newest members with these recent results. The CTP students will be paid 20 minutes per day to qualify on territory as per our Agreement. The Carrier is looking at all past days also in their calculations. The CTP students will also be compensated for DH and gas miles incurred  during class OJT as per Agreement Q&A.

C) I ask that any member who wishes to have a copy of their weekly payroll worksheet emailed please send your request to emitchell@utulocal60.com. Please include your full name, address and employee number. You still need to pick up your weekly check stubs, they get returned after 30 days. The Carrier is looking to email stubs in the very near future.

D) I have been working with the Carrier in trying to compress some of the smaller jobs, adding OT in some cases, to free up some people. I ask that if you are available to work your relief days please contact the crew callers office the night before and let them know you want to work the next day.

E) If any member has been denied an 013 payment due to not being rested please contact Scott Spratt at sspratt@utulocal60.com. The Carrier has recently changed course and is now more restrictive than the FRA in what is considered “on duty time”.

F) If any member has been involved in the  NJ TRANSIT SLEEP APNEA testing and you have not emailed me please do so asap.

G) The “Railmen for CHILDREN” golf outing is at Shawnee Resort on September 16. If you would like to sign up please contact event coordinator    Jim Kelton at 610-588-7786. This is the main fundraiser for our SANTA TRAIN in December for all of the children in need. It is a great cause and lots of fun all day long, dinner is included, we have the poster listed on this website under FUNDRAISERS.

Please email me feedback or suggestions, I am here for you the members.

Thank You,

General Chairman

Stephen J. Burkert

 

Sleep Apnea Update

All members who were positive or negative for the Carrier mandated sleep test, who already sent me an email, will be contacted in the very near future by a “Designated Legal Counsel Attorney”. All of the emails that were sent to me have been forwarded to the attorney and they will be contacting you individually for update.

***The attorney advised that all medical co-pays or deductibles be paid and they will be included in the case.***

If you have been removed from service for a sleep test from NJ TRANSIT, please send me an email with full details of when you were removed, returned, diagnosis, assignment #, lost earnings and a good phone number. Please do not hesitate on sending the email, this process has already begun. Even if you were found negative, but incurred medical expenses please send full detail email.

Thank You,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

All Members Screened for Sleep Apnea – Positive or Negative Results

Members I have consulted with designated legal counsel on this matter and they require the following information to be provided in an email.

Name, home address, phone number, Job title, date taken OOS, date returned to service, whether positive or negative, date of diagnosis, seniority date, rate of pay at time, and please list all medical expenses incurred.

Please email me at your earliest convenience,  sburkert@utulocal60.com

Fraternally,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

Retroactive Pay Part #2 – 8/3/17

I have been successful in my talks with the Carrier regarding the second half of our retroactive pay. We will receive our payment on August 3, 2017. All of the other Coalition Unions will also receive their checks on the same date. The Carrier will be sending out a letter soon informing you of specific dates, if you are choosing  to change your deductions for this retro check period. Thank you for your patience while I straightened out the logistics of this matter.

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

GC Assault Letter Read at NJT Board of Directors Meeting 5/17/17

Good Evening,

 

I am the General Chairman of SMART TD Local #60, I represent the conductor, assistant conductor and ticket collectors that work here at New Jersey Transit Rail. My topic of discussion tonight though involves all NJT workers such as bus operators, ticket agents, police officers, station cleaners and even the employees in this building  who assist our passengers during events or emergencies.

 

N.J.S.2C12-1, in plain terms is a law dealing with assaults on a another person. It was amended in 1996 to include specific language regarding New Jersey Transit employees.It states…

 

(F) Any operator of a motorbus, any employee of a rail passenger service or any employee of the New Jersey Transit Corporation while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as an operator of a motorbus, an employee of a rail passenger service or an employee of the New Jersey Transit Authority

 

This revision upgrades a simple assault to aggravated assault for affected employees.

I have repeatedly stated that the assaults are rising not only against my members but all of New Jersey Transit employees. The issue at hand is that the amended law is not being followed. The assault takes place, the person responsible is hopefully arrested, your employees receive medical treatment. Then, instead of the case remaining in the County/Superior courts it is being downgraded  by prosecutors across the state to local courts as a simple assault. This is being done without any input from the victim or the arresting officer.The convicted person walks out of court with nothing more than a small fine, if that much. Sometimes, while the employee is still unable to resume work.

 

I have members who have been sucker punched without having any interaction with a passenger. The passenger was drunk or high or because they thought it would look cool to their friends as they videotaped it and then posted it online. The result is broken jaws, noses, teeth and eye sockets for nothing more than showing up to work. The employee receive no paycheck while out, but do get slammed with medical bills.They, along their families suffer, some are never able to return to their position.

 

Everyone sitting up front tonight, please pretend someone just ran up and physically assaulted you, broke your nose or jaw. Why,only because you are members of this board, for no other reason? This is what my members go through on a  daily basis. Thankfully we have our officers here to insure your well being so it could not happen.

 

Recent Amtrak delays have only made this situation worse, the trains are overcrowded, understaffed and delayed. The delays are only going to get longer while the frustration of passengers are at a breaking point. I should also mention the concerts or sporting events where alcohol plays a huge part in the assaults.

 

I will continue to work with  Executive Director Santoro, Chief of Police Trucillo and their support teams on this disturbing issue. We all agree the end results need to be better for the transit employee. I would love to see a designated group, internally, to assist the employees through the entire ordeal including court hearings. They should not be victimised twice by a process for an unwanted assault while trying to earn a living.  

 

Thankfully, Governor Christie has now publicly weighed in on the delays. I am asking that you go back to Governor Christie, ask for his assistance in enforcing the language of the existing law. Let him use his authority in telling ALL state prosecutors, no more downgrading of charges in our aggravated assaults. Not just for train crews, but bus operators, police officers and all employees covered in the law’s language.  It will be a zero cost item to him, or to the budget at New Jersey Transit.

 

If we can deter any future assaults by adhering to a law that is already on the books, it would be priceless.

 

If Governor Christie wishes to come and see for himself, the overcrowded trains and being short staffed, I will be happy to escort him around the property.
Thank you for your time.

Local 60 Dues Increase

The monthly dues deduction designated for the General Committee will increase this month. The General Committee has been reviewing the account over the last four months. A full investigation of past, present and future costs was conducted, tabulated and thoroughly discussed prior to the Local Chairmen voting on  this increase. If you have questions regarding this issue or any other please come to the Local meeting this Sunday.

Thank You

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

Fare Collection During AMTRAK Service Disruptions

Members,

This has been a very stressful month for both you and our passengers that utilize NJ Transit. AMTRAK will be performing work to improve rail conditions in Penn Station NY. This work will involve both redirecting trains and closing tracks. Certain trains may be rerouted to a different terminal during this time. Our responsibility during this time is to perform our duties as professionally and safely as possible. We are tasked with collecting ALL of the fares on the train that we work. Please be mindful there is no rule that allows us “not to collect fares” during a service disruption.

If a passenger causes a disturbance on board a train or refuses to pay a fare, please be polite and explain to them you are required to call for police assistance for a fare refusal. If after this explanation no payment of fare is made, call the line dispatcher and request police assistance. While waiting for the police assistance, please make a PA announcement about the delay. Once police assistance arrives on scene, the passenger who refused to pay the fare will be removed from the train. There will be no opportunity for the passenger once the police arrive, to then pay the fare, since the train has already been delayed.  The passenger will then be under the direction of the police officer on scene.

In closing, the recent AMTRAK service disruptions were never our fault nor were the delays that followed. I am asking all members for patience and understanding when dealing with our passengers. I would hope the passengers extend the same amount of respect and courtesy to our crews, as we strive to get them to their destinations safely.

Thank you and be safe,

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman- Local 60