CSX Transportation (CSXT) sold a portion of its mainline track to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in 2010 so that it could build a commuter line to be named SunRail.
From the beginning of the line sale process, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) was fully engaged in ensuring that its members working for CSXT would be properly represented through the process. In fact, the BRS eventually negotiated an agreement with FDOT ensuring that all maintenance work and Phase II construction would be performed by a rail carrier.
It was an uphill battle for the BRS from the beginning. And, from day one, the BRS was the only rail labor union who took up the fight. FDOT put the SunRail work, both signal maintenance and construction, out for bid. The bids were awarded to contractors who were not rail carriers and did not have BRS-represented signalmen working for them. One of the companies that submitted a bid for the work was a rail carrier, and its employees were BRS members who were covered under all the laws associated with the Railway Labor Act. It was apparent by the way FDOT handled the bid award process that it had no intention of having any relationship with the BRS.
The company that was awarded the maintenance contract, and may very well be awarded Phase II construction, is TransitAmerica Services, Inc. (TASI). The BRS already had a relationship with TASI in the State of California. Once the work was awarded to TASI, the BRS began the process of representing the signal maintenance employees working on SunRail by meeting with them and collecting A-Cards stating that they were interested in being represented by the BRS. The BRS then filed an Application for Investigation of Representation Dispute with the National Mediation Board (NMB).
An election was held by the NMB, and the balloting results were seven out of nine employees voting with five voting for BRS representation and two voting against representation.
The BRS will now enter into the process of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with TASI to cover those employees. It is apparent that the BRS’ efforts to fight for the signal employees working for TASI to be represented were not in vain.