1320 S. Webster Avenue Suite 1
Green Bay, Wisconsin 54301
October 1, 2014 - Enroll Now for 2015 — Open Enrollment Is Oct. 1 – Nov. 1, 2014
Open Enrollment is now open for 2015 Health Benefits. Click the above link for more information or go to www.yourtracktohealth.com
2014 Green Bay WI - Backpay
The Carrier plans to issue backpay to active engineers on September 10, 2014. If anybody wants to make adjustments to their 401k withholdings, they need to do so before 1200 hrs. on September 8, 2014. It is very important to note that any change to the 401K election must be faxed to Payroll (708-332-3854) or emailed to Annette.Duffany@cn.ca rather than going through Fidelity. Employees should also be aware that the Railroad Retirement Board does not recognize 401K contributions as being exempt from RRB taxes so even if the employee elects 100% for 401K, it will actually be closer to 80%.
August 19, 2014 Green Bay WI - FMLA Poster
As you are probably aware, CN recently issued a poster complaining about alleged FMLA fraud and abuse, and urging you to anonymously inform on any fellow employees you suspect of improperly obtaining or using FMLA. This poster is an insult to all of us. Beyond that, it is an attempt to pit each of you against your fellow employee, which is an affront to the principles of trade unionism.
August 4, 2014 Green Bay WI - Rates of Pay
I have just been notified by Labor Relations that the new pay rates are being uploaded and will be applied to coincide with the new payroll period beginning August 11, 2014. Back pay will be paid up to and including August 10, 2014. Please notify your members.
John W. Reynolds
CN/WC General Chairman
July 25, 2014 Cleveland OH - Tentative Mediation A-13676 Ratification Vote
This refers to the tentative agreement between our GCA and Wisconsin Central Ltd. (CN WC), which was mailed out to the active membership during the month of June, 2014 for ratification.
The tabulated vote results are as follows in accordance with Section 41(a) - General Committee Rules of the BLET Bylaws;
Ballots sent: 510
Ballots received: 357
In favor: 211
The proposed agreement has been ratified by a majority vote of the active, eligible members casting a ballot.
I would like to thank the local officers and especially the members for their determination and support for our negotiating team during these negotiations
John W. Reynolds General Chairman – CN/WC, BLET
July 11, 2014 New York NY - With L.I.R.R. Strike Looming, Congress Indicates It Is Unlikely to Intervene
The dispute between the Long Island Rail Road and its unions hurtled into a more urgent phase on Wednesday, less than two weeks before a possible strike, as congressional leaders said they were unlikely to intervene on behalf of either side. Although the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the railroad, traveled to Washington ostensibly to seek clarification on…
July 1, 2014 Green Bay WI - Inward Facing Cameras
The Carrier recently informed us that they are installing Inward Facing Cameras (IFC) on several locomotives to use on a pilot program on the Iron Range Subdivision. The date the IFC pilot program begins will be issued per a Lake Zone Superintendent´s bulletin.
June 30, 2014 Green Bay WI - Memorandum of Understanding
For whatever reason, an anonymous poster has circulated "concerns" about the use of the term "Memorandum of Understanding" on the cover page of the Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement. By references to Wikipedia, the author of these "concerns" is apparently attempting to arouse suspicions about the enforceability of the Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement in what can only be a cowardly attempt to dissuade members from supporting it.
The Memorandum of Understanding that constitutes the Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement is a legally binding instrument that will, if ratified, serve to amend the Schedule Agreement according to the terms of the settlement. It was carefully vetted by the National President's Director of Research, and was reached under the auspices of a Federal Mediator. There is no merit whatsoever to the "concerns" being anonymously voiced, and any questions about the Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement should be directed to this office, not the bulletin board, locker room, or shanty.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact this office.
John W. Reynolds
General Chairman – CN/WC, BLET
June 23, 2014 Green Bay WI - Mediation Process Explained
As you should be aware, a copy of the Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement was mailed on Friday, June 20, 2014 to active members of the BLET employed by CN-WC who are eligible to vote on the ratification of this Agreement. Ballots are due by Friday, July 25, 2014. I have received many questions concerning what happens next if the Tentative Agreement does not ratify. While there is a legal structure that governs the process from this point on, it is much harder to predict with forensic precision just what will happen. I will do my best to explain what the law provides, and my best estimate of what could happen if you reject the Agreement.
June 20, 2014 Green Bay WI - Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement
On May 28, 2014 the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) reached a tentative contract Agreement with Canadian National's Wisconsin Central Ltd. Ballots are being mailed today to active members of the BLET employed by CN-WC who are eligible to vote on the ratification of this agreement.
Click on the above link to view the agreement package
June 16, 2014 Green Bay WI - Brother in Need
I regret to inform you that on Saturday, June 14, 2014 Brother Brett Hobbs, Local Chairman for Division 520, lost his home in a tragic house fire. Fortunately Brother Hobbs and his family escaped unharmed, but they lost all of their personal belongings in the fire.
If there is anything you can do to help Brother Hobbs and his family please contact Division 520 Secretary/Treasurer Jim Gibson at (219)741-6801 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any assistance that you may provide the Hobbs family will be greatly appreciated.
John W. Reynolds
CN/WC General Chairman
June 2, 2014 Green Bay WI - From the Office of the General Chairman-Tentative Agreement Reached
The General Committee reached a tentative Agreement with the Canadian National Railway on May 28, 2014 in Minneapolis, MN. The tentative Agreement was sent to the BLET National Division for executive review and approval on Monday, June 2, 2014. When executive approval is received from the National Division, the ratification process will begin, at which time details of the new tentative Agreement will be furnished. This office will release more information as it becomes available.
In preparation of the Tentative Agreement being approved, Members that have changed their mailing address over the last couple of years are encouraged to contact their Division Secretary/Treasurer so their address can be updated to be sure they receive the mailing which will include their ballot.
April 23, 2014 Cleveland OH - BLET, SMART–TD to seek two-person crew laws on the state level
As part of an ongoing effort to secure a law mandating a minimum of two crew members in the cab of all locomotives, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD) have provided their State Legislative Boards with model legislation to secure minimum crew size laws on the state level.
April 11, 2014 Kaukauna WI - Membership Update from Chairman Reynolds
This letter is to up-date the continuing business of the General Committee. The first item to address is our Section 6 Mediation negotiations with the Carrier. At the completion of our last round of meetings that were held the week of February 10, 2014, there was significant progress made, although there are still issues that neither of the parties could come to an understanding on. We were recessed by Mediator Tossi until the week of May 26, 2014, with the next round of meetings to be held in Minneapolis, MN.
Click the above link to read the full letter.
April 9, 2014 Washington DC - FRA to Issue Proposed Rule on Minimum Train Crew Size
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced its intention to issue a proposed rule requiring two-person train crews on crude oil trains and establishing minimum crew size standards for most main line freight and passenger rail operations. The FRA also intends to advance a rulemaking on train securement and recommends a rulemaking on the movement of hazardous materials.
April 4, 2014 Crystal Lake IL - Hartford Open-Enrollment Extended until April 30, 2014!!
Hartford has granted an extension to the open-enrollment for the CN-WC GCA Group Insurance Policy. Members who enrolled during the prior enrollment are currently insured (as of April 1st) so this extended open-enrollment does not affect you in any way. Members who have not yet enrolled, but would like to, can enroll before April 30, 2014 and will be insured on May 1, 2014.
There are two easy ways to enroll:
Visit www.RailroadDisability.com and click on the secure "enroll here" button under the CN-WC GCA column at the bottomright of the home page.
Call (815) 477.7287 and ask to have your enrollment elections into the CN-WC GCA group insurance plan taken over the phone.
March 25, 2014 Washington DC - Federal Railroad Administration issues Final Rule on Critical Incident Stress Plans
SUMMARY: FRA issues this final rule in accordance with a statutory mandate that the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) require certain major railroads to develop, and submit to the Secretary for approval, critical incident stress plans that provide for appropriate support services to be offered to their employees who are affected by a "critical incident" as defined by the Secretary. The final rule contains a definition of the term "critical incident," the elements appropriate for the rail environment to be included in a railroad´s critical incident stress plan, the type of employees to be covered by the plan, a requirement that a covered railroad submit its plan to FRA for approval, and a requirement that a railroad adopt and comply with its FRA approved plan. Click the above link or here to view the March 25 Federal Register Entry
March 2, 2014 Kaukauna WI - Hartford Open Enrollment (CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE PLAN)
I am pleased to inform you that we will be renewing our group insurance plan with The Hartford and ALL members are guaranteed approved for coverage during the open-enrollment which will run from March 1, 2014 to March 31, 2014.
There are open-enrollment meetings scheduled over the month of March. Please see the attached meeting locations, dates and times for open-enrollment meetings for your areas. In addition, see the attached enrollment kit. Mailings of the enrollment kit are being mailed to members Monday, March 3, 2014 and should start arriving at their homes mid-week. All members who wish to participate in the renewal policy are required to complete new enrollment forms, regardless if they are currently participating. They can complete their enrollment conveniently by doing any of the following:
1. Complete your enrollment forms online at www.RailroadDisability.com and click on the "enroll here" icon at the bottom of the homepage under the column for the WCGCA.
2. Call Cornerstone at (815) 477.7287 and have your application taken over the phone.
3. Complete the enclosed enrollment paperwork and mail them in the enclosed postage paid envelope or fax them to (847) 580.4937.
Enrollment forms must be completed and returned by March 31, 2014 to be insured on April 1, 2014 when the policy goes effective.
Cornerstone Assurance Group will also be conducting online Webinars throughout the month of March so members can learn about the renewal plan and get questions answered. Please visit www.railroaddisability.com to see the webinar schedule. All information about our renewal policy is located at the bottom of the homepage under the header WCGCA.
If you have questions about the plan or would like assistance completing your enrollment forms please feel free to contact any of the following individuals:
Cornerstone Assurance Group
Edward Haley (National Director) – 847.815.2168 email@example.com
Andrew Haley (President) – 847.815.4173 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Colton (Benefits Advisor) – 847.533.5140 email@example.com
Terri Maturno (Customer Service Representative) – 815.477.7287 firstname.lastname@example.org
EJE Enrollment Meeting Notice-March 6 Schiller Park Enrollment Meeting Notice-March 6 Gladstone Enrollment Meeting Notice-March 6
Green Bay/Neenah Enrollment Meeting Notice-March 1 Stevens Point Enrollment Meeting Notice-March 13
Superior/Proctor Enrollment Meeting Notice-March 18&19 Fond du lac Enrollment Meeting Notice-March 27
If you have any questions, please contact me.
John W. Reynolds
February 9, 2014 Kaukauna WI - Current Issues from General Chairman Reynolds
As you know in probably the biggest on-going issues we are dealing with in your areas is managers on trains, excessive hours on duty, the position the Carrier is taking on limbo time and the Carrier’s on-going violations of the CBA. First, I want everyone to know that no one is sitting idly by and taking these issues lightly. Below I will describe what we are doing to address the above mention on-going issues.
Click the above link to read the entier letter
Click Here to view or download a current WC/BLET Trip Report
January 24, 2014 Washington DC - NTSB calls for tougher standards on trains carrying crude oil
The National Transportation Safety Board today issued a series of recommendations (see Safety Recommendation Letters R-14-001-003 and R-14-004-006) to the Department of Transportation to address the safety risk of transporting crude oil by rail. In an unprecedented move, the NTSB is issuing these recommendations in coordination with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
January 24, 2014 Washington DC - FRA 49 CFR 213 Track Safety Standards Final Rule
SUMMARY: FRA is amending the Federal Track Safety Standards to promote the safety of railroad operations by enhancing rail flaw detection processes. In particular, FRA is establishing minimum qualification requirements for rail flaw detection equipment operators, as well as revising requirements for effective rail inspection frequencies, rail flaw remedial actions, and rail inspection records. In addition, FRA is removing regulatory requirements concerning joint bar fracture reporting. This final rule is intended to implement section 403 of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA).
DATES: This final rule is effective March 25, 2014. Petitions for reconsideration must be received on or before March 25, 2014. Comments in response to petitions for reconsideration must be received on or before May 9, 2014.
January 23, 2014 Cleveland OH - Attention retirees: Information about GA-23111 Plan F
Retired BLET members are being advised of the availability of coverage in addition to Medicare for railroad employees, their dependents, parents and parents-in-law.
January 23, 2014 Cleveland OH - Attention retirees: Information about GA-23111 Plan F
Retired BLET members are being advised of the availability of coverage in addition to Medicare for railroad employees, their dependents, parents and parents-in-law.
January 21, 2014 Ottawa ON - Transportation Safety Board of Canada to release three recommendations related to ongoing investigation into train accident in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) will release three recommendations related to its ongoing investigation into the 6 July 2013 derailment and fire involving a freight train operated by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.
Thursday, 23 January 2014, 11 am
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
1901 Research Road
Wendy Tadros, TSB Chair
Jean Laporte, Chief Operating Officer
Don Ross, Investigator-in-Charge
Manuel Kotchounian, Senior Investigator
This event is for media only. Media representatives will need to show their outlet identification.
The news conference will be webcast live from the TSB Lab. You can access the webcast at this address:
The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.
SOURCE Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1692446#ixzz2r2xYUrEO
January 3, 2014 Kaukauna WI - Retirement of Keith Stauber
This is to announce the retirement of Division 163 Local Chairman Brother Keith Stauber. On behalf of the General Committee and the entire Membership, I would like to thank Brother Keith for his dedication and service to our General Committee and our entire Membership. Brother Keith
has a substantial amount of knowledge of union representation and dedication, as he has always had the Organization and its Members at the top
of his priorities. With great respect, I would like to thank Brother Keith for all of his assistance that he has provided from the merger negotiations
to the day to day operations.
I wish Brother Keith a happy and deserving retirement as he has worked enormously hard to achieve it.
John W. Reynolds
General Chairman, CN/WC
December 18, 2013 Cleveland OH - BLET members to keep Health FSA plan for 2014
Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen will keep their Health Flexible Spending Accounts (Health FSA) through 2014 thanks to an increased level of participation in the money-saving plan.
December 11, 2013 Washington DC - Federal Railroad Administration Issues Industry-wide Safety Advisory to Ensure Compliance with Speed Restrictions
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued an industry-wide Safety Advisory to help ensure railroads adhere to federal regulations regarding maximum authorized train speed limits. The advisory contains four recommendations to ensure railroads comply with speed restrictions through appropriate operating policies, procedures and effective implementation.
November 22, 2013 Cleveland OH - Members urged to call their member of Congress after BLET lobbies for two-person crew bill
The BLET, working jointly with SMART-Transportation Division (formerly the United Transportation Union), made nearly 150 visits to members of the U.S. House of Representatives this week in support of H.R. 3040, the Safe Freight Act. The bill would mandate by federal law that two qualified individuals are in the cab of each freight train operating in the United States.
November 20, 2013 Brandon WI - Stevens Point Pools Schedule Posting
Vice General Chairman Hau has created a pool schedule to help everyone rebid their jobs with the pool schedule changes at Stevens Point, the following copy is in Adobe pdf format to make it easier for everyone to access. This is made available as a tool and no guarantees are implied.
November 12, 2013 Kaukauna WI - Section 6 Update
This letter is to update you on the status of our current Section 6 Mediation meetings with the Carrier. I was contacted by Mediator Michael Tosi last week and was notified that Section 6 Mediation meetings will resume November 20 and 21, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Click on the above link to read the full letter
November 1, 2013 Reedsburg WI - Wi-Tronix Cellular Device Detection System
Wi-Tronix is a monitoring device Railroads could use for cell phone usage monitoring on locomotives. CREWS ARE BEING FIRED! If you had any question……………
October 23, 2013 Oshkosh WI - Critical Incident info Letter to all Members
It has been reported that Grade Crossing and Trespassing Fatalities have been on the rise recently according to “Operation Life Saver” and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). This seems to be consistent with the amount of contact I have had with CN/WC GCA Members who have been involved in Critical Incidents over the last several months.
October 1, 2013 Cleveland OH - Railroad Retirement Board offices remain open during government shutdown; National Mediation Board to close
The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) announced that ongoing benefit payments will continue and all RRB offices are expected to remain open during the lapse in Federal funding for certain Government operations, which began today. The National Mediation Board, on the other hand, announced that it would be closed indefinitely due to lack of funding.
September 19, 2013 Cleveland OH - Register with ‘Your Track to Health’ to win iPad
The “Your Track to Health” brand represents the wide array of health and welfare benefits and resources available to eligible Railroad employees and their dependents. Whenever you see Your Track to Health used on communications and in materials, you can know and trust that the information is important and is being provided to help you better understand and optimize your health and welfare benefits.
September 18, 2013 Cleveland OH - Health FSA Calculator Tool now available
A health flexible spending account (Health FSA) is a benefit plan that lets you save by putting pre-tax money aside in a special account to help pay for certain medical costs and other health services. This means you can save on what you pay in your annual income taxes. Open enrollment for eligible BLET represented engineers who work at certain railroads (and all train service employees of the Texas Mexican Railway) will begin on October 1, 2013, and you can now calculate your potential savings by using the new Health FSA Calculator Tool.
September 11, 2013 Cleveland OH - Health FSA open enrollment begins October 1
Open enrollment will run from October 1, 2013 until November 2, 2013, for the Health Flexible Spending Account Plan (Health FSA), which is available to BLET represented engineers who work at participating railroads, and all train service employees of Texas Mexican Railway.
This important health care benefit, secured by the BLET during the most recent national contract, is in danger of falling by the wayside unless membership participation increases. At least 5% of eligible engineers must participate in the Health FSA in the 2014 Plan Year, and 7.5% in the 2015 and subsequent Plan Years, or the Carriers will have the right to terminate the plan beginning with the following Plan Year. The deadline to register for the 2014 benefit year is November 2, 2013, and the BLET is encouraging all members to sign up.
August 19, 2013 Kaukauna WI - General Committee Survey regarding Mediation Agreement A-13676 vote
By now you know the tentative Mediation Case A-13676 Agreement failed to ratify, 179 against, 124 in favor. So the immediate question is, what now? The short answer is that we go back into mediation.
After reading the above letter CLICK HERE to be taken to the survey page
August 9, 2013 Kaukauna WI - Vote results of the Mediation Agreement A-13676
Please see the attached letter concerning the vote results of the Mediation Agreement A-13676. Thank you for everyone who voted.
John W. Reynolds
CN/WC General Chairman
August 2, 2013 Washington DC - Federal Railroad Administration Issues Emergency Order to Prevent Unintended Hazardous Materials Train Movement
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued an Emergency Order and Safety Advisory to help prevent trains operating on mainline tracks or sidings from moving unintentionally. The FRA’s announcement was made in response to the July 6, 2013 derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada, as it awaits additional data once the investigation into the crash is complete. The actions announced today build on the success of FRA’s rigorous safety program, which has helped reduce train accidents by 43 percent over the last decade, and made 2012 the safest year in American rail history.
August 2, 2013 Cleveland OH - Operating unions advance federal crew size legislation
The Transportation Division of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation International Association (SMART) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET/IBT) have jointly announced that legislation requiring at least two crew members on all freight trains in the U.S. has been filed in Congress.
July 19, 2013 Cleveland OH - Official Statement of BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce
The following is the official statement from Dennis R. Pierce, National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen regarding the danger to public safety that one-man train operations represent.
Click the above link to read the entire statement
July 11, 2013 Kaukauna WI - Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement***CONTRACT EXPLANATION LOCATION AND DATES***
All WC General Committee Members,
Click on the above link for the schedule of A-13676 Mediated Agreement Explanation locations and dates. THESE MEETINGS AND CONFERENCE CALLS ARE FOR YOUR BENEFIT TO GATHER INFORMATION AND ASK ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE CONCERNING THE MEDIATION AGREEMENT A-13676 BEFORE CASTING YOUR VOTE
July 3, 2013 Kaukauna WI - Clarification of Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement Package
Please see the attached letter concerning the Company's Section 6 Notice that was in the mailing of the Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement. I have been notified by many members with concerns of the Company's Section 6 Notice dated August 31, 2012 that was enclosed in the mailing of the Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement Package. Many members have the impression that the Company's Section 6 Notice is part of the Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement. THIS DOCUMENT IS NOT PART OF THE TENTATIVE MEDIATION A-13676 AGREEMENT.
July 1, 2013 Kaukauna WI - Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement--CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PACKAGE
The Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement that was reached with the Canadian National Railway on June 6, 2013 received executive approval from the BLET National on Thursday, June 27.
On July 1, 2013 copies of the Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement, ballot packages and other pertinent information was mailed to all active members for ratification.
Ballots will be counted on August 9, 2013. If any active members do not receive their Tentative Agreement package by July 8, 2013 they should contact the General Committee office at (920) 462-4509 and a Tentative Agreement package will be mailed to them.
Included in the package are dates and locations for contract explanation meetings. In addition to the meetings there are four conference calls scheduled. These meetings and conference calls are for the member's benefit to gather information and ask questions they may have concerning the Tentative Mediation A-13676 Agreement before casting their vote.
June 10, 2013 Kaukauna WI - From the Office of the General Chairman-Tenative Agreement Reached
The General Committee reached a tenative Agreement with the Canadian National Railway on June 6, 2013 in Homewood, Illinois. The tenative Agreement was sent to the BLET National for executive approval on Friday, June 7, 2013. Once this office has received executive approval from the National the GCA will start distributing mailing packets with pertinent information concerning the tenative Agreement and it will also be posted on the GCA Website. Shortly thereafter the release we will begin the ratification process. This office will release more information as it becomes available.
June 8, 2013 Kaukauna WI - Revised Rosters***Now in Adobe pdf format***
As you know the 2013 Seniority Roster was posted on February 4, 2013. Upon review of the posted 2013 roster there were many errors discovered. Due to the amount of errors, the roster was revised and reposted on May 15, 2013. Any member disputing their placement on the Seniority Roster that was reissued must appeal their dispute in accordance with Article 7, Section 2 (b) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Any seniority placement protest that was appealed on the February 4, 2013 roster must be re-appealed.
Click Here to read General Chairman Reynolds notice
Click Here for the WC Order Selection Roster
Click Here for the DWP Order Selection Roster
Click Here for the DMIR Order Selection Roster
Click Here for the EJE Order Selection Roster
May 29, 2013 Cleveland OH - Preparing for your early retirement
BLET Editor's Note: The following is a list of important Information for railroad employees eligible for GA-46000 who may be planning an early retirement. It was prepared by United Healthcare.
May 10, 2013 Cleveland OH - Unions join forces to fight carriers implementation of inward cameras
During a meeting with the Presidents of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the SMART Transportation Division on April 24, 2013, Kansas City Southern Railway announced that it intends to install and begin to use inward facing cameras in all of its locomotives over the next few weeks. According to KCS, each locomotive will have two (2) cameras, one behind the engineer focused on the control panel and one across the cab focusing on both crew members. (Some locomotives with cameras installed already are in use in Mexico; others are being fitted for cameras in Shreveport.) The carrier told the two Presidents that it has "management prerogative" to take these actions and does not have to, and does not intend to, bargain with the unions over the use of these cameras, or the effects of this dramatic change on its operating craft employees. Without notifying the unions, that same day KCS filed suit in federal district court in Shreveport, LA, to obtain a ruling allowing it to implement its plan.
May 1, 2013 Kaukauna WI - Rest Day Do Not Call List
Please see the attached letter concerning a request to not be called on your rest days. This should eliminate unwanted/disturbing calls from CMC. If a member signs up for the do not call list and is called, please notify your local officer so notification can be made of the General Chairman.
April 26, 2013 Kaukauna WI - Attendance Policy
As you all should already know, the Carrier has announced Attendance Guidelines to take effect on May 24, 2013. I fully understand that our members have many questions, concerns and fears about this policy and how it will be administered. The purpose of this letter is to let all of you know the GCA's position in this regard.
March 19, 2013 Cleveland OH - 150th anniversary celebration planned for Detroit on May 8, 2013
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen enters its 150th year on May 8, 2013. It is the oldest transportation labor organization in North America. Founded May 8, 1863, at Detroit, Mich., the BLET has its headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. It has more than 500 Divisions (locals) throughout the United States. The first unit of the Brotherhood to be formed was Division1 in Detroit, Mich., on May 8, 1863.
February 4, 2013 Kauakauna WI - 2013 WC-DWP-DMIR-EJE Seniority Roster Protest Letter from General Chairman Reynolds
The 2013 BLET Seniority Roster was posted on February 4, 2013. Seniority protest must be appealed in accordance of Article 7, Section 2 (B) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE LETTER FROM LABOR RELATIONS PERTAINING SENIORITY ROSTER PROTESTS
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE 2013 WC-DWP-DMIR-EJE SENIORITY ROSTER
January 18, 2013 Cleveland OH -Update from BLET Tax Compliance department
Internal Revenue Service regulations require the BLET National Division to inform its members that a certain portion of your National Division dues are not tax deductible as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on your personal tax returns. According to the National Secretary-Treasurer’s office, 84.2 percent of your BLET National Division dues are tax deductible on a Form 1040 tax return.
January 8, 2013 Cleveland OH - Update on new vision care plan and discount plan for retirees
In November, the BLET National Division announced that an improved vision care plan would begin in early 2013 for certain members. As a part of the new program, a no-cost Discount Plan is being offered to retirees. Information on the early retiree Discount Plan is now available here:
January 4, 2013 Cleveland OH - UP/Texas State Legislative Board HOS Violations
Enclosed herewith for your information and files please find a copy of a file provided by Texas State Legislative Board Chairman T.D. Briggs, relative to his successful prosecution of Union Pacific Railroad's violations of the hours of service laws as interpreted in Federal Railroad Administration Technical Bulletin OP-04-30.
January 4, 2013 Cleveland OH - Letter from BLET President Pierce regarding Fatigue
As we begin the New Year, it is appropriate for me to bring everyone up to speed regarding developments concerning the subject of fatigue. It is a subject that has captured our attention for many years. Moveover, this year should bring publication of a new Federal Railroad Administration ("FRA") regulation establishing the parameters for Risk Reduction Programs ("RRPs") that will cover most BLET members, which will include a requirement to develop Fatigue Management Plans.
December 15, 2012 AP News - We'll All Miss Unions When They're Gone
Unionists have never enjoyed true security in America. During the early nineteenth century, they got hauled into court for conspiring to restrain trade. In the heyday of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, they got accused of fomenting violence and revolution. During the first decade of the Cold War, they had to purge their ranks of radical activists or be slammed as soft on Communism. Since the 1970s, they have been condemned as a greedy and privileged special interest even as their numbers and political clout keep dropping.
December 14, 2012 Homewood IL - Notice to all WC and EJE Engine Service Employees
Effective 1 January 2013, all engine service employees and assignments shall be governed by the terms and conditions of the Agreement between Wisconsin Central LTD. (WC) and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET). Certain modifications to that agreement will be in effect, pursuant to the Merger Implementing Agreement negotiated in relation to STB Finance Docket No. 35630.
December 13, 2012 AP News- Virginia GOP Official Calls Union Members ‘Terrorists’
Union workers who were protesting the passage of so-called “right-to-work” laws outside the state capitol in Lansing, Michigan are “terrorists,” according to a former high-ranking official in the Republican Party of Virginia who now serves in a county-level elected office.
December 8, 2012 Kaukauna WI - COC Temporary Vacancies
This is concerning the Rinaldo Award - Standing Bid - Section 1 (B). Beginning with the COC on December 10, all vacation vacancies of seven (7) days or more will be filled with the Temporary Change of Card, not the Permanent Change of Card. Please notify your members.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
John W. Reynolds
December 8, 2012 Kaukauna WI - Town Hall Discussion Concerning the Section 4 Merger Implementation between the EJE and WCL
This informational discussion is your opportunity to learn more about this important development. EJ&E General Chairmen Hobbs, WC
General Chairman Reynolds and BLET-VP Ruef will be in attendance to answer all questions.
December 7, 2012 Cleveland OH - Mobilization alert: Help protect our future on Monday, December 10
A showdown is taking place in Washington, D.C. Some Lawmakers are pushing to grant more tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans at a cost of $1 trillion over 10 years while cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits under the guise of a manufactured fiscal crisis.
November 28, 2012 Fond du lac WI - DLC Sponsors informative luncheon on FELA December 6, 2012 in Fond du lac
Randal W. LeNeave and the union designated law firm of Hunegs, LeNeave Kvas welcomes all railroad union craft employees,spouses or significant others to attend an informative luncheon to learn about the rights railroad workers have under the Federal Employers Liability Act.
Randy began his legal career in the early 1980s as a law clerk for the firm then known as the DeParcq firm, a pioneer and powerhouse in the representation of railroad workers under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Today, Randy's clients include railroad workers covered under the FELA, National Football League players and other professional athletes in workers compensation claims. He also represents people who have been seriously injured or whose family members have been killed as a result of the wrongful conduct of others, individuals or corporations. www.hlklaw.com
November 27, 2012 Kaukauna WI - Personal Leave Days Entitlement
This letter is in reference to Engineers who have established Conductor seniority on or prior to January 1, 2012 and are only receiving four (4) Personal Leave Days and not receiving their full entitlement of twelve (12) Personal Leave Days (PLDs). Article 20 (H) Personal Leave Days of the April 1, 2002 (revised: February 1, 2009) BLET/WC Collective Bargaining Agreement states: in pertinent part, that:
"Employees from other crafts transferring into engine service shall retain any PLD entitlement previously earned."
The Organization has discussed this issue with the Carrier many times with no resolution. The Carriers position is that Engineers are only allowed PLD allotted for by the BLET Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Organization disagrees with the Carriers position and interprets that any Engineer who was hired as a Trainman on or prior to January 1, 2012 shall be entitled to a maximum of twelve (12) PLDs for each calendar year.I have requested from United Transportation Union (UTU) General Chairman Ken Flashberger his interpretation of Article 18 (A) of the WC/UTU Agreement dated January 1, 2012 concerning the following question:
If an Engineer possessing Trainman seniority on or prior to January 1, 2012 and is permitted to exercise his seniority rights as a Trainman in the event he is involuntary furloughed from engine service, how many PLDs would he be entitled to?
Mr. Flashbergers interpretation to the above referenced question is as follows:
If an employee established seniority as a Trainman prior to January 1, 2012, he should be entitled to twelve (12) Personal Leave Days.
If you have established seniority as a Trainman on or prior to January 1, 2012 and are only allotted four (4) PLDs for the calendar year you need to
submit a grievance claim in the CATS system. Its imperative that you enter the claim into the CATS system, as a paper trail is needed, as this office is attempting to resolve this issue. When submitting your claim in CATS, please use the language enclosed with this letter.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter. Should you have any questions concerning this issue please contact your Local Chairman.
Sincerely, John W. Reynolds, General Chairman
October 24, 2012 Kaukauna WI - Agreement to Borrow-out of WC Engineers on IC Property
From the office of the General Chairman--Attached is the proposed agreement of a Borrow-out of WC Engineers on IC Property. This agreement needs to be approved by the membership as outlined in President Pierce's letter. He states under BLET By-laws, each Local Chairman will poll the active membership attending the first regular or special division meeting following receipt of the Proposed Agreement and ascertain the wishes of the membership. The Local Chairman next will cast a vote with me in accordance with the instructions of the division, and I will be governed by the instructions of a majority of the local chairmen affected. This agreement was proposed account of the shortage of Engineers on the IC property between Fulton, Memphis, Jackson, Geismar, Baton Rouge, New Orleans due to the influx of grain and new coal service. The Carrier has assured me that they are in the process of hiring Certified Locomotive Engineers in the listed regions, but are dire need of Engineers now. The borrow-out Engineers will only be used at Jackson and points in Louisiana at this present time, until sufficient supply of Engineers are hired and trained. Fraternally yours, John W. Reynolds, CN/WC General Chairman
October 9, 2012 Kaukauna WI -ALL BLET CN/WC ENGINEER MEMBERS:
From the office of the General Chairman: Dear Sirs and Brothers: This letter is to update you on the status of our current Section 6 meetings with the Carrier. As you all know by now we began our current round of Section 6 negotiations with the Carrier in Roselle, Illinois on February 29, 2012. We have received numerous contract proposals from the Carrier, all of which were rejected as they did not meet the requirements of what our membership wants in a new Agreement. As your elected General Chairman one of my many responsibilities is to negotiate the best Agreement I can with the Carrier that will benefit all of the membership. In addition, I have had many conference calls with all members of the CN/WC BLET General Committee to give updates and ask their opinions and advice in trying to accomplish the wants and needs of our membership. On September 7, 2012 I applied to the National Mediation Board for their services under Section 5, First, of the Railway Labor Act. Our application has been docketed Case No. A-13676 and will hereafter be referred to as that number. Mediator A. Michael Tosi has been assigned to our case. Our next meeting is scheduled for November 5 & 6, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. We were hopeful that requesting assistance from the National Mediation Board could have been avoided on a new Agreement. However, we refuse to let the Carriers lack of flexibility keep us from receiving the Agreement our membership deserves. We will posting updates on our website (http://www.bletcnwcgca.org/) as we move forward with negotiations with the Carrier. If you have any questions or concerns contact me or any General Committee member for clarification. Fraternally, John W. Reynolds, General Chairman CN/WC, BLET
October 9, 2012 The White House, Washington D.C. - President Obama thanks the BLET for it's endorsement
President Obama has issued a letter to all BLET members thanking them for the recent endorsement for re-election to President.
October 7, 2012 Kaukauna WI - WC/EJ&E Coordination Implementing Agreement Voting Results
From the office of the General Chairman--Dear Sirs and Brothers: This letter is to inform you that members of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Company/Wisconsin Central LTD ratified the Implementing Agreement Coordinating the WC/EJ&E. Listed below are the results of the vote: In Favor of the WC/EJ&E Coordination: 150. Not in Favor of the WC/EJ&E Coordination: 49. I would like to thank the negotiating team for their hard work at the bargaining table. I would also like to thank all BLET members for participating in the voting process. Fraternally, John W. Reynolds, General Chairman, CN/WC, BLET
October 7, 2012 Cleveland OH - Open enrollment has begun! CN has agreed to participate in the National Agreement Flexible Spending Account
From the office of President Pierce: Flexible Spending Account ("FSA") is now available to all CN engineers working under the BLET Agreement. Because this consensus was reached before the open enrollment materials were mailed, the CN properties will receive open enrollment packets that also include the materials and information for enrollment in the FSA program. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact our Director of Benefits, Brother Dan Cook who can be reached via phone at (216) 241-2630 ext. 225 or via e-mail at email@example.com
September 21, 2012 Fond du lac WI - The BLET-WISLB is pleased to announce our endorsements for the Congressional and National Senate race for the 2012 election cycle as follows;
Senate- Tammy Baldwin, Congress by District- District 1- Rob Zerban District 2- Mark Pocan Distict 3-Ron Kind Distict 4- Gwen Moore District 5- David Heaster District 6- No Endorsement District 7- Pat Krietlow District 8- Jamie Wall
I ask that all members consider these endorsements as election day approaches. These canidates have shown by their past voting records or by their strong commitment to Labor and the middle class that they will all be strong voices in defense of our rights as members of labor. Please feel free to contact this office with any questions. As always I remain, Paul Aird, 1st Vice-Chairman, State Legislative Representive, BLET/WISLB, (920)410-7324, firstname.lastname@example.org
September 10, 2012 Kaukauna WI - CN/WC General Committee has reached a tentative agreement on the coordination of the WC and EJ&E properties:
Your GCA has reached a tentative New York Dock (NYD) Implementing Agreement with CN providing for the coordination of the WC and EJ&E properties. This Agreement is very similar to the one that was promulgated last year by Arbitrator Rinaldo in connection with the coordination of the WC, DMIR and DWP properties. While this Agreement may not appear to immediately impact many of our present members, particularly those who are far removed from the Chicago area, it is important to everybody nonetheless.
September 6, 2012 Kaukuana WI - Here are the finalized LMRC notes from our meeting held in April
The final notes from the Labor-Management Resolution Committee notes have been completed. John W. Reynolds, General Chairman.
Septmeber 5, 2012 Montreal PQ -CN acquiring more than 2,200 new freight cars and 1,300 containers in 2012 to support traffic growth and improve customer service
From the CN Corporate Home Page: CN announced today that it is acquiring more than 2,200 new freight cars in 2012, as well as 1,300 new containers, to support traffic growth and improve customer service. Jean-Jacques Ruest, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, said: CN is acquiring new freight cars and containers for a range of markets, including forest products, metals, minerals, coal, iron ore, steel, consumer goods, finished vehicles, and grain. These fleet additions will help us grow in line with our customers' demands and ensure CN has the right mix of modern, productive assets.
August 14, 2013 Cleveland OH - Romney enlists Ryan to wage war on railroad workers
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Representative and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the architect of a plan to gut the pension rights of railroad workers, as his running mate. This pairing represents a nightmare scenario for BLET members and all railroad workers in America, BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. With Romneys campaign trail promises to slash Amtrak funding and Ryans infamous budget plan that would destroy Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits, there could be many dark days ahead from railroaders if this pair is elected in November.
August 13, 2012 Chicago IL - CN to invest $35 million in Wisconsin to serve Superior Silica Sands frac sand plant and other producers in future
CN and Superior Silica Sands today announced a multi-year agreement to move frac sand from a new processing plant now under construction in northern Wisconsin. Texas-based Superior Silica Sands is building an 85-acre sand processing plant and rail storage facility adjacent to CN's Barron Subdivision near Poskin, Wis., capable of producing up to 2.4 million tons per year of high-quality frac sand products. CN this spring launched a $35-million project to restore nearly 40 miles of track between Ladysmith and Barron, Wis. CN will upgrade rail and replace railroad ties, repair culverts and bridges, and restore rail service along the line. The Barron Subdivision will connect to CN's North American rail network at Ladysmith and will be in service later this year. CN will provide rail service to the new plant, moving frac sand from northern Wisconsin to shale drilling areas across North America, including Western Canada.
August 1, 2012 Cleveland OH - BLET applauds OSHA, Federal Railroad Administration agreement to protect workers from retaliation
On July 17, the Federal Railroad Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that they had reached a memorandum of agreement to begin working together to address the seriousness and overwhelming number of whistleblower complaints that OSHA has received from railroad workers. BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce applauded the announcement. OSHA has received nearly 1,000 whistleblower complaints in less than five years, President Pierce said. Thats more than 200 per year, or more than one every other day. Retaliation against railroad workers is an epidemic that has plagues our industry for years and I am pleased that problem is finally being addressed in a manner that I hope will bring an end to the decades old harassment and intimidation of rail workers.
July 20, 2012 Kaukuana WI - Results of the claims conference that was held in Kaukauna, WI on June 27, 2012
Here are the results from the claims conference held with the carrier at the GCA office on June 27th. These claims will be paid on the July 27, 2012 paycheck. If you have any questions, please contact me. John W. Reynolds, General Chairman
July 20, 2012 Washington D.C. - Federal Railroad Administration and OSHA Sign Agreement to Protect Railroad Workers from Retaliation
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced the signing of an agreement to improve coordination between the two agencies in enforcing the whistleblower provision of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA).
July 12, 2012 Kaukauna WI - An update on the Section 6 meetings
from the General Chairman-CN/WC Members: This letter is to update you on the current Section 6 meetings we are involved in with the Carrier. As you all know by now we began our current round of negotiations with the Carrier in Roselle, IL on February 29 & March 1, 2012. Our second round of meetings was held in Minneapolis, MN on June 4 & 5, 2012. Our next meeting is scheduled for July 24 & 25, 2012 in Kaukauna, WI. I will keep you updated on the Section 6 meetings as they continue. Fraternally, John W. Reynolds, General Chairman.
July 12, 2012 Kaukauna WI - An update on the Section 4 meetings
from the General Chairman-CN/WC Members: This letter is to update you on the current Section 4 meetings we are involved in with the Carrier. As you all know by now the Carrier filed paperwork with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to merge the Wisconsin Central and Elgin, Joliet and Eastern as one operating railroad. The merger was approved by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board just last month. What this means is the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway will officially be absorbed by the Wisconsin Central Railway. The EJ&E will cease to exist as separate corporations, and all operations would be as the Wisconsin Central. The two railways are now negotiating with the Carrier in hopes of moving all employees under a single contract. CN hopes to have the deal done by the end of the year. We have had one round of meetings, which were held in Homewood, IL on July 9 & 10, 2012. The next scheduled meeting is to be held in Homewood, IL on August 7 & 8, 2012. I will keep you updated on the Section 4 meetings as they continue. Fraternally, John W. Reynolds, General Chairman.
July 9, 2012 Homewood IL - All GE-EVO and EMD SD70M locomotives are going to be on a 184 day periodic schedule:
All GE-EVO and EMD SD70M locomotives are going to be on a 184 day periodic schedule. Talk to all your supervisors, Mechanics, Electricians or anyone involved in the inspection and maintenance of these locomotives to be aware that the Blue Card is going to show inspections in a 184-day interval instead of the 92 day that we are all used to seeing. CN is going to put Hi-Pri notes on all these locomotives to replace the Blue Cards as soon as possible to insure that they all have the updated BC with the remarks on page 2. Effective June 8, 2012 FRA is revising the existing regulations containing Locomotive Safety Standards. FRA is modifying the existing periodic inspection requirements to provide for a 184-day inspection interval for all locomotives equipped with microprocessor-based control systems with self diagnostic capabilities. FRA has recognized the following CN locomotives to meet the requirements:
EMD SD70M-2 CN8000 to CN8024 & CN8800 to CN8964
GE EVO CN2220 to CN2344
June 25 Cleveland OH - A message from President Pierce on the FRSA/OSHA Whistle Blower Issue
President Pierce has released a letter concerning the FRSA/OSHA Whistle Blower Act in which the carriers have attempted to place there attorneys in the under the guise of "representing" the affected worker.
June 23, 2012 Kaukuana WI - SECTION 4 NOTICE ON CN's PLAN TOO MERGE WC & EJE
Brothers: CN has formally notified this Committee of its plan merger of the WC and the EJ&E properties.
June 21, 2012 Cleveland OH - Collective bargaining rights are under attack again:
An anti-union bill currently making its way through Congress seeks to undermine the rights of workers to bargain collectively under the guise of higher wages. The cynically-named Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees Act, or RAISE Act, would amend Section 9(a) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to allow employers to ignore what they agree to in collective bargaining agreements. Introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) as S. 3221, the bill would take away employees rights to negotiate contracts that create a uniform, fair process for granting wage increases. The dubious logic behind the bill is that employers are benevolent and generous supporters of their workers, and should be allowed the freedom to reward favored employees with higher raises. In reality, the legislation would give employers the ability to discriminate against employees by arbitrarily showing favoritism to one worker over another.
June 14, 2012 Kaukauna WI - Next Labor/Management Resolution Committee meeting to be held on June 27 & 28, 2012
from the office of the General Chairman--The CN/WC General Committee will address the following at the Labor/Management Resolution Committee meeting to be held on June 27 & 28, 2012.
(CLICK HERE) to download the agenda. (CLICK HERE) to view claims scheduled for the LMRC.
June 14, 2012 New York NY - W.H.O. Declares Diesel Fumes Cause Lung Cancer
Diesel fumes cause lung cancer, the World Health Organization declared Tuesday, and experts said they were more carcinogenic than secondhand cigarette smoke. The W.H.O. decision, the first to elevate diesel to the known carcinogen level, may eventually affect some American workers who are heavily exposed to exhaust. It is particularly relevant to poor countries, where trucks, generators, and farm and factory machinery routinely belch clouds of sooty smoke and fill the air with sulfurous particulates.
June 10, 2012 Chicago IL - New Benefit Year for Railroad Unemployment and Sickness Benefits
A new benefit year under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act begins July 1, 2012. Administered by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), this Act provides two kinds of benefits for qualified railroaders: unemployment benefits for those who become unemployed but are ready, willing and able to work; and sickness benefits for those who are unable to work because of sickness or injury. Sickness benefits are also payable to female rail workers for periods of time when they are unable to work because of pregnancy and childbirth.
May 27, 2012 Cleveland OH - CN FILES PLAN TO MERGE WC & EJ&E
Please see the attachment concerning the Carrier's plans to merge the WC and the EJE railroads that was filed with the STB on Wednesday, May 23, 2012. I will keep you update as this progresses. John W. Reynolds, CN/WC General Chairman.
May 15, 2012 Ladysmith WI - Canadian National may reopen Wisconsin branch line-From Trains Magazine News Wire
Canadian National will likely reopen its 44-mile branch line from Ladysmith to Poskin, Wis., which has been dormant for several years. According to a CN operating bulletin taking effect May 14, the railroad is reestablishing the Barron Subdivision, connecting with the Superior Subdivision at Ladysmith. The bulletin says at present the main track is out of service west of milepost 129.0 at Ladysmith, and has a maximum speed of 10 mph. The line is part of Soo Lines original route from Minneapolis to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., which CN inherited with its 2001 purchase of Wisconsin Central. CNs Barron Subdivision was shut down shortly after the CN purchase, CN would reopen the line because of booming frac sand business. The sand is in high demand for oil and gas exploration in three major U.S. areas, including the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and Montana, and other areas in Texas and Pennsylvania. Superior Silica Sands is planning to build a new sand plant near Poskin, Wis., on the CN line. Another company, Canadian Sand and Proppant, has already broken ground for a new frac sand mine at a nearly 200-acre tract in the town of Sumner, not far from CNs tracks at Canton, Wis.
May 9, 2012 Cleveland OH - FRA issues Safety Advisory 2012-02 regarding restricted speed
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published Safety Advisory 2012-02 on April 25 to remind railroads and their employees of the importance of complying with restricted speed operating rules. BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce strongly condemned the "blame the worker" tone of the Safety Advisory. He warned BLET members to be on alert for "...increase the level of operational testing with regard to the operation of trains on main tracks at restricted speed."
May 2, 2012 Cleveland OH - Medco Health Solutions, Express Scripts announce merger
News Flash from the BLE&T--Express Scripts recently finalized its merger with Medco Health Solutions, the prescription drug provider to many BLET members. The combined company will be Express Scripts and will continue to provide pharmacy services to BLET members without changes to the plan or network.
April 23, 2012 Cleveland OH - Remember in November: An open letter from BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce
On April 16, 2012, the BLET National Division posted a News Flash article at www.ble-t.org warning our membership of the attack on our Railroad Retirement system that was included in Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryans Budget Plan. Since that time, the National Division has received many calls and emails from the membership, many of them curious as to exactly where in the Ryan Budget those attacks were found. To that end, I am including in this message an exchange that I had this week with a member, in this case a member that I have known personally for over 30 years. This Brother questions BLETs facts, as was his right; unfortunately he also chose to question our motives. While our union is big enough for all opinions, it is imperative that we not get sidetracked when it comes to who is attacking working Americans, and what your National Division is doing to defend our way of life. My response sets the record straight on both accounts, and is shared for your information.
April 20, 2012 Cleveland OH - War on Workers: Ryan Budget targets railroad workers, retirees
From the BLE&T Web Site--The U.S. House of Representatives has adopted federal budget legislation sponsored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would have devastating effects on the retirement security of both active and retired BLET members, as well as all railroad workers. The measure passed on March 29 by a vote of 228-191, with 10 Republicans joining all of the Democrats in voting against it. The Ryan Budget fundamentally misconstrues the relationship between Railroad Retirement and Social Security, and ignores the fact that all Railroad Retirement benefits above Social Security whether Tier 1 benefits or Tier 2 benefits are fully funded by railroad workers and their employers; none of these benefits are funded from the general treasury. Therefore, no actual budgetary savings would result from enactment of this legislation. "The Ryan Budgets claim that American taxpayers will realize a savings if our occupational disability and retirement annuities are gutted is so blatantly false," BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said, "that even the head of the carriers lobbying group has called out Chairman Ryan on his deception, and told him not to interfere in our privately-funded industry pension." "This budget is one more example of how Republican Paul Ryan and his worker-hating allies are trying to hurt middle class Americans including the railroad workers who, with the carriers, fully fund their own pension plan," BLET Vice President & National Legislative Representative John Tolman said. "Also included are the standard targets Amtrak and its workers and high speed rail, by eliminating funding for high speed rail and limiting overtime for Amtrak workers. But the cuts aren't limited to only railroad workers."
April 16, 2012 Chicago IL - War on Workers: Funding Source Fact Sheet
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS PROVIDED BY THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD
April 6, 2012 Kaukauna WI - A MESSAGE FROM THE GENERAL CHAIRMAN CONCERNING THE RECENT P.B.I.P. PAYOUT
I have received many calls from members stating they were allegedly shorted on their profit based incentive plan (PBIP) that they were paid in accordance with Article 23, Section 9 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. PBIP is paid on unproductive as well as regular (only OT is excluded) time. Pay elements: regular, bereavement, jury duty, military pay, personal day, holiday, investigations, and other TPNW, vacation, vacation in lieu. Wage types for which the earnings are collected, with the exception of wage type 2865-Overtime- which is excluded when report is run. Recalculate last years earnings to produce the amount of monies you were shorted the PBIP payout and submit your shortage in CATS. John W. Reynolds, General Chairman
March 26, 2012 TCUnion.org - TCU Files EEOC Discrimination Charges Against BNSF Sick Policy
TCU has filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), challenging Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroads new policy on reporting medical events or conditions.
March 7, 2012 Cleveland OH - National Division will discontinue formally designating attorneys and instead will refer its members to the directory of the Academy of Rail Labor
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmens Advisory Board has adopted revisions to the Unions program that provides assistance to BLET members injured on the job, who may be entitled to damages pursuant to the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).
March 6, 2012 Kaukuana WI - FRA Waiver for Bifurcation of Monthly 276 and Limbo Caps
From the office of the General Chairman--Brothers: The Company will be reverting to the standard calendar month tracking for the 276 and 30 hour-limbo monthly caps for all employees during the month of March 2012, thereby bringing all employees back in line with calendar month tracking as of March 15, 2012. Since the waiver expires on March 29, 2012 CN will still have to observe the Feb 15th to March 14th cycle for employees. What this means is any employees who exceed the 276 hour cap during the Feb 15th to March 14th period will have to be removed from the working board and thereafter not allowed to return to duty until 00:01 on March 15th. As well, employees cannot be allowed to exceed 30 hours of cumulative limbo time during this same period as well. Effective 00:01 on March 15, 2012 all former employees will revert to the monthly calendar cycle and their CATS hours of service logs manually re-adjusted to reflect all time accumulated on both the 276 & limbo clocks between March 1, 2012 and March 14, 2012. Based on this re-adjustment CATS will ensure they do not exceed the 276/30 hour monthly limbo caps during the period March 1-31, 2012. A CATS Broadcast notice for all employees explaining the change and how it will be implemented will be going out soon. Let me know if you guys get any questions from your members. John W. Reynolds, CN/WC General Chairman
March 6, 2012 Cleveland OH - NTSB issues safety recommendation on restricted speed after five rear-end collisions in 2011
In the wake of five rear-end collisions in 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued safety recommendations regarding the operation of freight trains at restricted speed. Two BLET members were killed in those accidents. According to preliminary investigations into the five accidents, the NTSB blamed crew members for going too fast and failing to operate their trains at the required restricted speed.
February 21, 2012 Kaukauna WI - Issues Involving Transport and Lodging of Away Crews at Chicago
A dispute currently exists with the Carrier regarding the proper application of the Agreement to situations where away crews at Chicago are not being properly compensated in instances where their travel time between the lodging facility and their purported on/off duty location exceeds thirty (30) minutes, crews are required to perform covered service at the lodging facility or enroute to or from the purported on/off duty point, and/or crews are not provided lodging within 30 minutes of going off duty.
February 9, 2012 Kaukauna WI - SECTION 6 NOTICE
From the General Chairman: Brothers, Our Section 6 was delivered to the Carrier today with the 1st round of meetings scheduled for Feb. 29 & March 1, 2012. I will keep you advised as the meetings progress. John W. Reynolds, CN/WC General Chairman
February 7, 2012 Cleveland OH - LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FROM BLET PRESIDENT PIERCE
BLET President Dennis R. Pierce has written a letter to Presient Obama about "The F.R.A. Reform and Modernization Act" as it is currently written.
January 25, 2012 Toronto ON - CN suspends Hunter Harrisons pension payments
Canadian National Railway Co. has suspended Hunter Harrisons pension payments, alleging that the former chief executive officer has breached provisions of his retirement deal and poses a serious threat to CN if he joins rival Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.
January 11, 2012 Cleveland OH - Update from BLET Tax Compliance Department
From the BLE&T Web Site--I. R. S. regulations require the BLET National Division to inform its members that a certain portion of your National Division dues are not tax deductible as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on your personal tax returns. According to the National Secretary-Treasurers office, the portion of the National Division dues that is not subject to deduction as an Itemized Deduction on a Form 1040 tax return is 13.56 percent for 2011. In other words, 86.44 percent of your BLET National Division dues are tax deductible. The 13.56 percent reflects expenses associated with political lobbying efforts by the BLET, which are not tax deductible.
January 3, 2012 Toronto ON - Former CN head tapped as possible CP boss
Hunter Harrison, the former head of Canadian National Railway Co., has been approached as a possible candidate to take over the helm of his former rival, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and he is apparently receptive to the move, sources familiar with the plan have confirmed.
December 13, 2011 Kaukauna WI - How Corporations Pay More for Lobbyists Than in Taxes
Here is another episode of the tail wagging the dog or in other words the 1% vs the 99%. Please pour yourself another cup of java and sit back and read the attachment concerning the top 30 companies lobbying Washington versus what they actually pay in taxes. It is astonishing and makes for a very compelling argument as to who is actually running the country. Couple that with the recent changes to the political donations scams and you have a recipe for a national disaster (or more of a one) when it comes to the middle class. Finally, this one article provides even more insight as to why we are now entertaining the tentative agreement and healthcare changes and why organized labor, in general, is constantly fighting an uphill battle.
December 13, 2011 Cleveland OH - Federal Motor Safety Commission Bans the use of cell phones while operating a commercial vehicle
Final rule making by the FMCSA prohibits use of a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle (unless its hands free).
December 1, 2011 Kaukauna WI - Issues Involving Transport and Lodging of Away Crews at Chicago
The General Chairman has released a letter to the Carrier concerning the proper application of the Agreement to situations where away crews at Chicago are not being properly compensated for travel time between the lodging facility and their purported on/off duty locations.
December 1, 2011 Fort Worth TX - Nationwide strike by the BLET is averted
By Dennis R. Pierce BLET National President--Exactly two weeks ago an excerpt from my Presidents Message in the Oct/Nov. issue of the Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen News was published on this website. I told you that the issuance of PEB 243s report and recommendations had placed both the BLET and the Carriers at the point where either they had to reach a voluntary settlement or allow a third party to set our wages and working conditions.
November 20, 2011 Kaukauna WI - ARBITRATION PROCEEDING UNDER NEW YORK DOCK ARTICLE 1, SECTION 4--OPINION & AWARD
Brothers, Attached please find Arbitrator Rinaldos Award imposing an Implementing Agreement in connection with the coordination of the WC, DMIR and DWP properties. We will be scheduling meetings to explain the award, with meetings beginning next week in Superior and St. Point. Fraternally, John Reynolds
November 30, 2011 Kaukauna WI - Here are the finalized LMRC notes from our meeting held in November
The final notes from the Labor-Management Resolution Committee notes have been completed. John W. Reynolds, General Chairman
November 30, 2011 Pittsburg KS - Wisconsin & Southern short line to sell controlling ownership to Watco
From the BLE&T Web SiteWatco Transportation Services, L.L.C. (Watco) and The Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR) announced today that they have mutually approved an agreement whereby Watco will acquire controlling ownership of the WSOR. The WSOR will join forces with Watco, who operates a family of short line and regional railroads across the nation and offers a multi-faceted transportation business model dedicated to providing the highest level of Customer satisfaction.
November 29, 2011 Kaukauna WI - Results of the claims conference that was held in Kaukauna, WI on November 8, 2011.
From the General Chairman--Here are the results from the claims conference held with the carrier at the GCA office on November 8th. Paid claims will be paid on December 16th. John W. Reynolds, General Chairman
November 7, 2011 Cleveland OH - PEB 243 report leaves much unfinished business
Presidential Emergency Board No. 243 has issued its Report to President Obama and its recommendations for settlement of the national wage/rules/benefits dispute between 11 unions, including the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), and most of the nations Class I railroads. In some ways the PEB recommended adoption of some of the Carriers arguments that the United Transportation Union (UTU) settlement be followed but in other ways it modified those terms to give the employees represented by the other unions a more generous settlement.
In its presentation to the Board, the Carriers argued that the UTU settlement was a pattern that should be adopted lock, stock and barrel. The PEB did not agree and its recommendation does not strictly follow the Carriers demands. For example, the general wage increases proposed by the Board are greater than those found in the UTU agreement. In addition, the Board has recommended a lump sum signing bonus for all employees covered by the agreement, while the UTU agreement only pays lump sums to employees working under the entry rate progression that UTU had previously agreed to.
October 22, 2011 Kaukauna WI - NEW YORK DOCK SECTION 4 UPDATE
Dear Sirs and Brothers, The purpose of this letter is to update you on the status of the negotiations that have been ongoing in an attempt to make an Implementing Agreement pursuant to the New York Dock Protective Conditions in response to the notice dated May 18, 2011 CN served to coordinate the WC, DMIR and DWP properties.
The Parties (BLET, UTU and CN) met in person June 21 and 22, 2011 in Duluth, MN; July 13 and 14, 2011 in Minneapolis, MN; and August 24 and 25, 2011 in Green Bay, WI. Additionally, the Parties conducted conference calls on September 30th and October 7th, 14th and 20th, 2011. To date, no Implementing Agreement has been reached.
At the conclusion of the meeting held on July 14, 2011, the Carrier announced its intention to seek arbitration pursuant to Section 4 (a) of the Conditions, which provides that: "If at the end of thirty (30) days there is a failure to agree, either party to the dispute may submit it for adjustmentâ€¦" The Carrier thereafter sought a strike list from the National Mediation Board and as a result of that process, Arbitrator Thomas Rinaldo was selected. The Parties will appear before Arbitrator Rinaldo in Albany, NY on October 27, 2011 to present our arguments. I will represent the GCA and be assisted by our assigned National VP, Marcus Ruef. Arbitrator Rinaldo will issue an Award in connection with this matter in due course, and we will keep you up to date on future developments as they occur.
Fraternally, John W. Reynolds, General Chairman CN/WC, BLET
October 6, 2011 Cleveland OH - A LETTER FROM BROTHER DENNIS PIERCE, PRESIDENT OF THE BLET, Subject: Executive Order Establishing a PEB
We just received the Executive Order, signed and released by President Obama, appointing a Presidential Emergency Board to hear our dispute over our National Negotiations. It is attached. Please pass this information to your Division Strike Committees, this email will also be circulated by the Mobilization Network.
Effective immediately, both the Carriers and the Unions are barred from exercising any form of self help. Accordingly, the BLET National Division will not be issuing any strike orders tonight. To reiterate, all locomotive engineers and involved trainmen should continue to work their assignments in normal fashion, there will be no strike at 12:01 am.
In closing, I know that you were all prepared to assist the National Division in leading our members in a job action had it been necessary and legal. Please remember that the attached Executive Order effectively bars us from any form of self help until December 7, 2011. During the next 60 days, it is imperative that we continue our effort to strengthen our networks and remain vigilant to the fact that we may face circumstances similar to todays on December 7th. I speak for all of us here at the National Division in passing on our thanks for everyones continued support in our efforts to bring this bargaining round to a successful conclusion.
Fraternally, Dennis R. Pierce
September 23, 2011 Kaukauna WI - Claims Listed for Arbitration:
The following claims were filed for Arbitration to be heard by the First Division on March 15, 2011. The National Mediation Board ordered the BLET and the Carrier to try and resolve the claims through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). At this time we have had one ADR meeting in Washington, DC with mediator Pat Sims.
John W. Reynolds, General Chairman
September 9, 2011 Kaukauna WI - TWO LETTERS ISSUED BY THE GENERAL CHAIRMAN
from the General Chairman: John W. Reynolds has issued for posting two letters. The first one is a letter for claims to the National Railroad Adjustment Board--First Division. To view this letter in PDF, please (CLICK HERE)
The second letter for posting is a protest concerning engineers being forced to allow student engineers to run the train. Please (CLICK HERE) to view this letter in PDF format.
September 8, 2011 Cleveland OH - NMB proffers arbitration in national contract dispute
On Friday September 2, 2011, the National Mediation Board (NMB) urged the unions comprising the Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition (RLBC) and the carriers represented by the National Carriers Conference Committee to submit their unresolved national contract dispute to binding arbitration pursuant to Section 5, First and Section 7 of the Railway Labor Act, as amended (RLA). The proffer of arbitration is a mandatory step in the RLA bargaining process. If either party to the negotiations declines to accept the proffer, the NMB will then notify the parties that its mediatory efforts have failed and will release them from mediation. By letter dated September 2, 2011, all unions comprising the RLBC notified the NMB that the RLBC was rejecting the proffer of arbitration. This rejection will release the parties from mediation and will also trigger a final 30-day cooling off period, after which the parties will legally be entitled to exercise self help.
August 24, 2011 Fond du lac WI - A Message From Paul Aird, 1st Vice Chairman/Director of Political Communications
What really is the result of what has happened here in Wisconsin?
August 29, 2011 Kaukauna WI - Here is an update on our recent Section 4 meeting held in Green Bay, August 24 & 25.
from the General Chairman--This letter is to follow-up on our recent New York Dock Sec.4 meetings with the Carrier that were held on August 24th & 25th in Green Bay, WI. In attendance at this meeting were General Chairmen Keith Stauber and Ricky Clark representing the DMIR GCAs, UTU-E General Chairman John Wentzlaff and First Vice Chairman Steve Moerke representing the DWP UTU-E GCA. BLE National Vice Presidents Marcus Ruef representing the BLET National Division. First Vice Chairman Eric Hau, Second Vice Chairman Scott Reinke and myself representing the WC GCA. We offered a proposal to the Carrier hoping to achieve a voluntary agreement to both satisfy the Carriers New York Dock Section 4 Notice. As stated in earlier messages to you, if we cannot reach a voluntary agreement regarding the Section 4 Notice, the Carrier intends to invoke Arbitration pursuant to New York Dock. If this happens, an Arbitrator will impose an Implementing Agreement upon us. The Carrier intends to meet with the three GCAs on September 7th & 8th in Superior, Wisconsin in hopes of moving all employees under a single contract. The Carrier has also indicated, and you may hear through other channels, that they intend to file for arbitration shortly so that the arbitration process will be in place should the Parties fail to reach a voluntary settlement. This should not be interpreted as a sign that a voluntary settlement cannot be reached short of arbitration.
I will keep you up-dated on the Section 4 meetings as they continue. Fraternally, John W. Reynolds, General Chairman.
July 24, 2011 Kaukauna WI - Here are the finalized LMRC notes from our meeting held in April
The final notes from the Labor-Management Resolution Committee notes have been completed and are available. John W. Reynolds, General Chairman
July 21, 2011 Chicago IL - CONDUCTOR WINS "WHISTLEBLOWER" CASE AGAINST WISCONSIN CENTRAL
From the Hoey & Farina's e-mail Newsletter for Railroaders: The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, issued an order on July 15, 2011, in a "Whistleblower" complaint filed by a Wisconsin Central (CN) Railroad Conductor pursuant to Section 49 U.S.C. 20109 of the Federal Rail Safety Act. The Conductor reported an on the job injury, as required by railroad rules, on January 30, 2010 which under the statute is a protected activity. The following day the railroad issued a notice ordering the Conductor to attend a Formal Investigation to ascertain his responsibility for sustaining a personal injury and to ascertain if he violated any railroad rules.
July 19, 2011 Kaukauna WI - Here is an update on our recent Section 4 meeting held in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 13 & 14.
This letter is to follow-up on our recent New York Dock Section 4 meetings with the Carrier that were held on July 13th & 14th in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In attendance at this meeting were General Chairmen Keith Stauber and Ricky Clark representing the DMIR GCAs, UTU-E General Chairman John Wentzlaff and First Vice Chairman Steve Moerke representing the DWP UTU-E GCA, BLET National Vice Presidents Marcus Ruef and Michael Twombly representing the BLET National Division, First Vice Chairman Eric Hau, Second Vice Chairman Scott Reinke and myself representing the WC GCA.
We exchanged proposals with the Carrier hoping to achieve a voluntary agreement to both satisfy the Carriers New York Dock Section 4 Notice and also enhance the BLET/WCL Agreement. As stated in earlier messages to you, if we cannot reach a voluntary agreement regarding the Section 4 Notice, the Carrier intends to invoke Arbitration pursuant to New York Dock. If this happens, an Arbitrator will impose an Implementing Agreement upon us.
The Carrier intends to meet with the three GCAs on August 24th & 25th in Green Bay, Wisconsin in hopes of moving all employees under a single contract. The Carrier has also indicated, and you may hear through other channels, that they intend to file for arbitration shortly so that the arbitration process will be in place should the Parties fail to reach a voluntary settlement. This should not be interpreted as a sign that a voluntary settlement cannot be reached short of arbitration. I will keep you up-dated on the Section 4 meetings as they continue.
Fraternally, John W. Reynolds, General Chairman
July 3, 2011 Kaukauna WI - UPDATE ON THE SECTION 4 NEGOTIATIONS
This letter is to up-date you on the current Section 4 meetings we are involved in with Carrier. As you all know by now the Carrier filed paperwork with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to merge the Wisconsin Central, the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway and the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway as one operating railroad. The merger was approved by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board just last month.
What this means is the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway and the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway will officially be absorbed by the Wisconsin Central Railway. The DMIR and DWP will cease to exist as separate corporations, and all operations would be as the Wisconsin Central. The three railways are now negotiating with the Carrier in hopes of moving all employees under a single contract. CN hopes to have the deal done by the end of the year. We have had one round of meetings, which were held in Superior, WI on June 21st & June 22nd. The next scheduled to be held in Minneapolis, MN on July 13th & 14th.
I will keep you up-dated on the Section 4 meetings as they continue. Fraternally, John W. Reynolds, General Chairman.
June 23, 2011 Washington DC - U.S. SUPREME COURT DENIES CSX ATTEMPT TO CHANGE FELA
From the Hoey & Farina's e-mail Newsletter for Railroaders--On June 23, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in the case of CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Robert McBride. The decision reaffirms the established causation jury instruction under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA). For over 50 years, virtually every court in the United States followed the language of the law contained in the FELA as written by the U.S. Congress when instructing juries on the standard of causation that applied to. The CSX railroad argued that this was an incorrect standard of causation ('proof') - and appealed. CSX lost its appeal, then asked the Supreme Court of the United States to review the decision.
April 26, 2011 Ashland WI - Massive taconite plant proposed near Canadian National line
From the News Wire Trains Mag.--A major mining company has proposed an 8-million-ton-per-year mine and processing plant for iron ore near Canadian Nationals Ashland Subdivision, the Duluth (Minn.) News-Tribune has reported. If opened, Cline Groups Gogebic Taconite plant would be the first ore operation on the Gogebic Iron Range since the 1960s. At full planned production, the plant would produce enough ore to fill approximately two 12,000-ton unit trains of ore per day. Like ore from other plants near the Great Lakes, it would ship by rail to an ore dock, then be transferred to lakeboats. Cline is also looking at production of iron nuggets, a more refined, higher-grade ore that can be used in electric arc furnaces.
March 7, 2011 Kaukauna WI - Out-of-Cycle Engineers
From the office of the General Chairman: As we all know we have been having a problem with the Carrier concerning Out-of-Cycle Engineers. We have been meeting with the Carrier to try and resolve the problem. We are making progress but still have a ways to go. Attached with this email is a letter for the membership explaining where we are at with the Carrier regarding this issue
March 7, 2011 Kaukauna WI - Grievance Claims Submitted in Cats
From the office of the General Chairman: Attached with this notice is a letter to the membership explaining when they submit a grievance claim in CATS they need to include the Article number of the CBA with the violation.