Notable Arbitration Case Won – TCU Defends Retiree Benefits

For several decades Long Island Rail Road had a standing practice of issuing Lifetime rail passes upon retirement to LIRR employees and their spouses.  However, in 2013, LIRR unilaterally issued a new policy that required retirees and their spouses to not only renew their rail passes within six months but also required that the passes then be renewed every two years thereafter.  TCU retirees and their spouses were subject to the costs and inconveniences necessary to renew the pass that had been an assured Lifetime benefit at the time of their retirement-or they would lose the benefit altogether.  

All Long Island Rail Road employees -including management and various union crafts- were affected by the new policy, but TCU was the only union that filed a claim on behalf of all of its members against Long Island Rail Road to protect retiree rights.  An uphill battle to establish past practice was endured from the initial filing of the claim.  Ultimately the case was brought before an Arbitration Board and was presented by National Vice President Arthur Maratea, with assistance from National Representative William DeCarlo, Division Chairman James Figueroa and the Industry Relations Department staff.

The resulting Arbitration Award, issued December 4, 2015, held that an existing Letter Agreement defined the past practice of providing a Lifetime pass and therefore the pass must be made available to all Claimants who retired before the Carrier’s policy was implemented in 2013.  The Award mandated that Long Island Rail Road must provide those retirees and their spouses with a transportation pass that is not subject to renewal.  

More than 2,000 TCU retirees and their spouses will now have this Lifetime benefit restored.

Click here to view the award.

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