March 10, 2008—It’s time to celebrate at Amtrak: TCU carmen and maintenance of way and maintenance of equipment supervisors have resoundingly ratified the terms of agreements that took eight long years of struggle to achieve. Of those voting, the contracts were ratified by 87% of carmen, 95% of maintenance of way supervisors and 88% of maintenance of equipment supervisors.
The new contracts run from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2009 and contain substantial back pay provisions, strong wage increases and no concessions in work rules.
“This is a great victory for this union and for these members at Amtrak,” says International President Bob Scardelletti. “It has been a long, hard road, but in the end we prevailed—despite the efforts of the Bush administration to kill off Amtrak and the take-it-or-leave-it position management took from the start that there would be no contracts unless we agreed to sweeping rules concessions, including unrestricted contracting out.”
Scardelletti strongly credits this victory to the support and patience of the membership, the expertise of International Vice President Joel Parker, the leadership abilities of TCU’s Carmen Division General President Rich Johnson and General Vice President Carl Tingle and ARASA Division International Representative Joe Derillo, and the extraordinary cooperation and solidarity among the concerned unions.
“Carmen stood together and held the line with their brothers and sisters at Amtrak and because of that we were able to move forward. It took a PEB and the threat of a strike, but ultimately we were able to reach an agreement that the membership deserved,” says Carmen Division President Johnson. “Bottom line, our objective through all of this was to achieve a fair and equitable agreement,” says Division GVP Tingle.
“Through these years, it truly was one for all and all for one,” says ARASA International Representative Derillo. “I am very proud of the membership and the leadership of the Maintenance of Way and Maintenance of Equipment Supervisors and very grateful for their cooperation, patience and support.”
Including TCU, a total of 12 unions representing some 15,000 members were involved in these negotiations. They are the Transport Workers Union of America; Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees/IBT; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; American Train Dispatchers Association; National Conference of Firemen and Oilers/SEIU; United Transportation Union; Sheet Metal Workers International Association; International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers; and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen/IBT. By the end of the day of March 10, Amtrak announced that ten of these labor agreements had been ratified.
While these contracts do not cover other TCU members at Amtrak such as clerks, on-board service workers and product line supervisors, the ratified agreements will establish the basis for continued negotiations which have just resumed. “I feel enthusiastic about the likelihood that settlement for these members will be reached soon,” says Scardelletti.
Click here to read the report recapping these Amtrak negotiations which President Scardelletti presented a few days ago to the AFL-CIO.