2014 THIRD QUARTER REPORT
ALL LOCAL UNIONS
SYSTEM COUNCIL NO. 2
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
It is my privilege to announce that Brother Jay Ochoa recently
retired from the Union Pacific Railroad with over forty years of service
and a member of IBEW Houston Local 1814. Jay served his local in
several capacities for many years including Financial Secretary for over
thirty of them. He also served as an Executive Board member for
System Council No. 2 and participated on several committees.
Throughout his career, Jay devoted himself to helping the membership
with a sincere desire to improve the lives of those he served. We
sincerely thank him for his dedication, service, time and support.
As the result of the past “sequestration” imposed by Congress, the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) is reducing railroad
unemployment and sickness benefits by 7.3 percent, up from the current 7.2 percent reduction beginning October 1, 2014. This reduction is
based on revised projections of benefit claims and payments under the
RUIA and remains in effect through September 30, 2015. The daily
benefit rate is $70; therefore, the 7.3 percent reduction in railroad
unemployment and sickness benefits will reduce the maximum amount
payable in a two week period with ten days of unemployment from
$700.00 to 648.90. Any future fiscal year reductions will be calculated
based on applicable law. Certain railroad sickness benefits are also
subject to tier I retirement taxes, resulting in further reduction of 7.65
percent. With a 7.3 percent reduction to these benefits will result in a
maximum two week total of $599.26.
There is a new website for all members covered under the
National Health and Welfare Plan called, “Your Track to Health”. This
website recently replaced the old “Railroad Informational Depot”Health
and Welfare site. By accessing this site, an employee can access
his/her personal Health and Welfare information with a single sign-on
regardless of which provider is administering your benefits (Aetna,
Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, or United Health Care). This one stop
website covers all insurance including health, dental, vision, life and
sickness. This is a secure and confidential site and all personal
information is only accessible to the individual employee. The site was
developed in cooperation with Health Care administrators, the
Railroads, and Rail Labor. All members are encouraged to take
advantage of it. The “your Track to Health” website can be accessed
through either the IBEW website at http://www.ibew.org/ and going to the
Railroad Department section, or at www.yourtracktohealth.com.
The Canadian National Railway was recently found in violation of
the Federal Railroad Safety Act for disciplining an employee for taking
doctor-ordered time off. The Company was ordered to pay the
employee $2,000 in compensatory damages, remove disciplinary
information from his personal record and provide whistleblower rights
information to its employees. OSHA’s investigation upheld the allegation
that the railroad company disciplined the employee for taking leave in
line with a doctor’s order. The employee notified the company that he
was to see a doctor and subsequently notified a supervisor that the
doctor had ordered him to stay off work for the remainder of the day due
to personal illness. The company then accused the employee of violating
its attendance policy and issued a letter of reprimand.
During the third quarter, it was brought to the System Council’s
attention that Union Pacific was planning on leasing part of its Stockton,
California locomotive facility to “Harbor Rail Services”, a non-union
contractor which, from time to time, performs locomotive repairs for the
various rail carriers including UPRR. This office, together with
representatives of the IAM and NCFO contacted Union Pacific in
opposition to this matter. Following various discussions and meetings
with Labor Relations, it was agreed that the contactor would not be
allowed to work at the Stockton facility.
A letter of understanding was finalized with the UPRR
Telecommunications department clarifying the process and
requirements for Installation Technicians and Electronic Technicians
who bid for a District Installation position. (DIT-2014
Following approximately two years of discussions with the five
applicable Shopcraft Organizations, a consolidated agreement was
reached concerning the Mechanic-In-Charge (MIC) positions on the
former Chicago and North Western Railway (C&NW) territory. The MIC
Consolidated Agreement governs the working conditions and rates of
pay for employees assigned to positions of MIC. The changes were
negotiated to simplify pay, recognize vacation pay separate from a
monthly rate and address work schedules and seniority issues. Also a
letter agreement was reached for an annual pay review to assure that
MIC wages are not reduced by converting from a monthly to hourly rate.
On September 24, 2014, System Council 2 provided notification
to United Industries Inc./Progress Rail with our desire to modify the
provisions of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (January 1,
2011 – December 31, 2014) covering our members employed at the
Rocklin, California Traction Motor/Wheel facility, IBEW Local 800. On
the date of September 29, 2014, United Industries Inc./Progress Rail
filed notice with System Council 2 to terminate the current agreement
and to renegotiate its provisions. At this point negotiations are
scheduled to begin in October.
As pointed out in my Second Quarter report as well as IBEW Rail
Director Bill Bohne’s July correspondence, the IBEW Railroad
Department is currently preparing for the next round of National
Bargaining with the nations freight railroads. The local unions were
reminded to provide their suggestions for the preparation of the
upcoming Section 6 notice to my office well in advance of November 1,
2014, which would then be forwarded to the IBEW Railroad Department.
Any local union wishing to provide suggestions for the Section 6
preparation should have already done so, and all requests received
were forwarded to the Rail Department for consideration. As this
process continues to progress, I will notify the local unions accordingly.
* During the week of July 1st, VGC Tortorice assisted Roseville
Local 1682 with two disciplinary matters. AGC Starkjohann and I
met with UPRR Telecom to discuss Technician certification.
* During the week of July 7th, AGC Shell and I met with members
of Local 1814 and toured the UPRR Livonia and Avondale, LA
* During the week of July 14th, AGC Shell and I attended the System
Council 7 convention and conference.
* On July 16, AGC Starkjohann met with the Kansas City
* On July 21st, AGC Starkjohann attended a claims conference
with Union Pacific Labor Relations personnel, and on July 23rd,
met with the Houston Telecommunications members.
* On July 28th, AGC Shell and I met with Kansas City Southern
Labor Relations to discuss an Article I “Employee Protection”
issue regarding the High Speed Rail project on the former
Gateway Eastern Railway.
* During August 4th-5th, AGC Shell, VGC Tortorice and I met with
members and officers of Denver Local 708 and toured the Union
Pacific locomotive facility.
* During August 6th-7th, AGc Shell, VGC Tortorice and I met with
members and the officers of North Platte Local 1920 and toured
the Union Pacific locomotive facility.
* During the week of August 19th, AGC Shell and I, together with the
General Chairmen of the five Shopcraft Organizations met with
Union Pacific regarding amending the provisions for MIC positions
on the C&NW territory. We also met to discuss the Carrier’s plan
to utilize contract forces at its Stockton, CA facility.
* On the dates of August 25th-26th, a System Council staff meeting
was held to discuss various issues throughout the past quarter.
* On August 27th, the System Council staff and I met with Union
Pacific Labor Relations and Telecom Director Neal Spencer to
discuss outstanding Telecommunications issues.
* During the week of September 8th, AGC Starkjohann and I
attended the annual IBEW Membership Development Conference.
* On September 16th, AGC Shell and I met with the members and
officers of Chicago Local 214, and visited the Proviso locomotive
facility and the Cal Ave Commuter Operations facility.
* On the date of September 17th, AGC Shell and I met with Union
Pacific Labor Relations and the Shopcraft General Chairmen to
finalize the amendments to the MIC Agreement.
* During the dates of September 18th-19th, AGC Shell and I attended
the annual meeting of the National Association of Railroad
* During the week of September 22nd, AGC Shell conducted Local
Chairman training for Local’s 708 and 1920. On September 24th,
he assisted Local 1920 with a disciplinary investigation.
* During the week of September 23rd, AGC Starkjohann assisted
Little Rock Local 807 with a disciplinary investigation, and later
met with the members of the Telecommunications Department.
Through the third quarter, the System Council staff continued to
assist the local unions with day to day issues and concerns. During
the quarter, the annual audit was also completed for the System
Council’s fiscal year end. We are currently waiting for final approval
and funding for Public Law Board 7001 (UPRR) and Public Law
Board 7160 (KCS), of which we have cases docketed and pending
Please find the following attachments for your review and dis-
1. UPRR VP-Labor Relations letter regarding “United Way-2014“;
2. RRB Railroad Job Vacancies Report; (see rrb.gov)
3. RRB Information Publication –RRB-October 2014
4. September 5, 2014, Telecom Dept.MIC letter-2014
5. September 17, 2014, Consolidate MIC-2014Agreement, with
With best wishes, I remain
cc: IVP’s System Council 2
Bill Bohne, Dir of Railroads