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.

SMART-TD NJ Election Recommendations November 2017

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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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SMART Army SMART GP Video On Relief Efforts

Our SMART TD Brothers and Sisters in Texas need your help!

The catastrophic flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey have devastated Houston and its surrounding communities with loss of life and immeasurable destruction of property.

Some of those affected by the devastation are our Brothers and Sisters of SMART Transportation Division (SMART TD) who live in and near the Houston area. The silver lining is, and will continue to be, the generosity of citizens around the country who are giving what they can to help those affected to reclaim their lives.

We are asking the SMART TD family to rise to the call and give what you can so that the daunting task of starting over and rebuilding can begin.

Your generous donation will help lessen the struggle and bring real hope and relief to our SMART TD members who are suffering from this great loss. SMART TD will administer donations sent to the UTU Disaster Relief Fund.

Contributions may be sent and made payable to:

UTU Disaster Relief Fund
24950 Country Club Blvd.
Suite 340
North Olmsted, OH 44070-5333

View Online

Questions:
Please call the Transportation Division office at 216-228-9400 referencing Disaster Relief.

Sincerely,
John Previsich
President
SMART Transportation Division

 

On Track Protection

In light of a recent event we want to send a message about the importance of requesting and receiving on track protection or foul time whenever it is necessary to cross, occupy, or foul a main track.

Whether it will be a quick move or prolonged for inspection, repair, rescue, or passenger assist. Please call dispatcher and ask for protection as per NORAC rule 140, whenever you will be on a live track.

We do a dangerous job and becoming complacent can cost us and our coworkers our lives.

 

House of Representatives passed an anti-worker bill

Brothers and Sister,

Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed an anti-worker billed misguidedly labeled as the “Working Families Flexibility Act” (H.R. 1180). This harmful legislation would let employers give workers paid time off instead of being required to pay one and a half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a work week.

H.R. 1180 encourages employers to require excessive hours because overtime work would become cheaper and allow the employer to determine when the compensatory time off is allowed. This anti-worker bill would result in longer hours, less pay and more unpredictable work schedules for those who are not fortunate enough to have a union contract to protect them.

During a time when our nation’s elected leaders should be focused on creating good paying American jobs, H.R. 1180 does nothing more than provide employers with an opportunity to cheat their employees out of their earned overtime pay.

Attached is a letter I sent to every Member of Congress urging them to vote NO on this anti-worker bill. You can find out how your elected representatives voted by clicking the link below.

In solidarity,
John Risch
National Legislative Director
SMART Transportation Division

 

RRB Analysis: Trump’s budget to gut Amtrak would be disastrous for ALL rail workers

http://www.congressweb.com/SMART_Transportation/15

If signed into law, President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal would eliminate Amtrak’s long distance train service. The immediate fall out would be significant for all American rail workers resulting in the loss of 10,000 non-Northeast Corridor Amtrak jobs by the end of this year.

According to a recent report by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) Actuary, the impact of such job losses would result in a long-term decrease in Railroad Retirement benefits and overall increase in taxes.

Impact on RRB benefits & trust funds if 10,000 Amtrak jobs cut

While RRB accounts could absorb the loss of 10,000 Amtrak jobs, the cumulative impact of losses in the rail industry, including approximately 30,000 jobs that have been lost in just the last two years, will take a significantly negative toll on the entire system. Attached you will find the RRB’s detailed projection in loss of jobs, loss of benefits, and major increase in railroad unemployment benefits projected for 2017 and 2018.

The time to act is NOW

We must urge fellow members, friends and family to call, email and write our national elected officials  to OPPOSE any budget that would cut 10,00 Amtrak jobs, eliminate commuter rail service and irreparably harm the retirement benefits that all railroad members worked for a lifetime to secure.

Click here to urge your elected representatives to oppose any budget cuts to Amtrak’s long-distance train service via the Legislative Action Center (LAC).

In solidarity,
John Risch
National Legislative Director
SMART Transportation Division