RLA petition

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JeffLH

Member
Sorry, I won't be signing. I'm a working railroader and know I'm better off under the Railway Labor Act.
Jeff
 

Mtblucas

New Member
Sorry, I won't be signing. I'm a working railroader and know I'm better off under the Railway Labor Act.
Jeff
I am very confused by this. As an airline pilot I have experienced how this outdated group of laws allows airlines to walk all over us. For example, management at the airline I work for has chosen to exploit the RLA in every way possible and has managed to drag out contract negotiations for 6 years now. We are nowhere near obtaining an updated contract either since the RLA destroys the union's power to perform work actions. So how exactly are the railroads any different? As a railroad employee, how do you consider the RLA beneficial? From an airline pilot's point of view the RLA needs to be turned into confetti.
 

JeffLH

Member
I am very confused by this. As an airline pilot I have experienced how this outdated group of laws allows airlines to walk all over us. For example, management at the airline I work for has chosen to exploit the RLA in every way possible and has managed to drag out contract negotiations for 6 years now. We are nowhere near obtaining an updated contract either since the RLA destroys the union's power to perform work actions. So how exactly are the railroads any different? As a railroad employee, how do you consider the RLA beneficial? From an airline pilot's point of view the RLA needs to be turned into confetti.
It does not stop railroads (or the airline) employees from striking. It does make it harder to do so, more hoops to jump through. The one thing I don't like about RLA is that ultimately Congress could impose a contract upon us. Last year the BLE&T(of which I am a member) was ready to strike after being released from arbitration. The President ordered a cooling off period and a Presidential Emergency Board was appointed to make recommendations. At the end of the cooling off period, both groups accepted the PEB recommendations. (In some respects it wasn't as good as we wanted, but better in others. On the whole, we made out better than had we just accepted the carriers final offer.) Had neither side accepted that, it could then go to Congress and they could impose a contract. Then all bets are off. That's why I don't like that provision of the RLA.

Railroads, especially the major carriers are heavily unionized. Under RLA, even in right to work states, employees in agreement positions (train, engine and yard men, Mtce of way, signalmen, etc) can be required to join one of the recognized railroad unions. There are many that want to get rid of this provision, figuring that there would be enough to drop out of the unions to ultimately break them of what power they still have. (I would agree that with the political climate the way it is, companies hold a lot more leverage even with a union.) Just imagine what kind of contracts they would offer if only a handful of employees were members? Imagine losing contracts completely because they were able to completely decertify a union.

Without the contracts, the railroads could impose any changes in work rules, pay or benefits as they pleased. They wouldn't have to negotiate anything or even go to arbitration or a PEB. One person crews, done. Cut the remaining crewman's pay and benefits, done. Double the miles for the remaining crewman to work per day, done. Close one terminal and move 300 people from one location to another without having to compensate them for the move, done. (I truly believe had the carriers been able to get a one person crew through negotiations a couple of contracts back, they would be fighting tooth and nail against PTC. They don't want the expense, but once they have it, it will give them ammunition for eliminating the conductor before an arbitrator or PEB.)

Look at the meat packing industry. Once upon a time, they were the best paid blue collar workers. Not anymore. Just about any industry that was once heavily unionized, but over time has had their unions busted had the same result. Lower wages, benefits and working conditions. The RLA makes it harder to bust the union, because it is a Federal law, it overrides state jurisdiction. I just look at it that once they get rid of the RLA, they will eventually be able to get rid of union protections.

Jeff
 




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