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UTU, BLET oppose NS Mich. lease deal
Posted By ted On October 18, 2010 @ 6:56 pm In Amtrak/Commuter,Amtrak/Commuter News,News | No Comments
A Norfolk Southern sought lease of trackage to a newly created short line railroad in Michigan is being opposed by the UTU and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, which represent affected train and engine workers.
The U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) is being asked by the UTU and the BLET to revoke an exemption from regulatory review previously provided a proposed transaction of NS and Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road, a holding company intending to create a new shortline to lease and operate almost 45 miles of NS track near Lansing.
The new short line, to be called Jackson & Lansing, is expected — as is the case with virtually all upstart shortlines — to hire a new workforce that will be paid lower wages and benefits than NS now pays the five trainmen, three engineers and three other employees now assigned to that trackage by NS.
The UTU and the BLET are asking the STB to revoke a previously granted STB exemption that would permit the transaction to move to completion without regulatory scrutiny. Such exemptions are permitted if the STB is satisfied that neither competition, continued rail service, safety nor other so-called public interest considerations will be jeopardized as a result of the transaction.
In fact, STB Vice Chairman Frank Mulvey filed a dissent in the previous 2-1 decision granting the exemption, saying that the outward written commitments imposed by the parties require more information, “particularly when they contain outright bans on interchange with third party carriers or, as here, economic incentives that can only be evaluated with the provision of additional information.”
Specially, the UTU and the BLET ask the STB to reconsider its granting of the exemption for the following reasons:
This also would violate national rail transportation policy, as it requires “fair wages and suitable working conditions.” The STB is obligated to consider (which can only be done by revoking the exemption and investigating the transaction) whether the new entity will impose substandard wages and working conditions, thereby significantly circumventing the terms and conditions of current collective bargaining agreements under which the affected employees are now covered.
Click here to read the joint UTU/BLET filing.
Article printed from United Transportation Union: http://utu.org
URL to article: http://utu.org/2010/10/18/utu-blet-oppose-ns-mich-lease-deal/
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