October 26, 2022, FRONT ROYAL, VIRGINIA — Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen President Michael Baldwin announced today that the union’s members voted against ratification of the National Tentative Agreement reached on September 15. The BRS represents more than 6,000 members affected by the negotiations.
The results are as follows:
6,339 Ballots were mailed.
4,639 (73.18% participation) Ballots were received with the following results:
- 1,820 (39.23 % of Received Ballots) Yes, Approve
- 2,810 (60.57% of Received Ballots) No, Do Not Approve
- 9 (.2% of Received Ballots) Spoiled Ballots
The BRS negotiated this round of bargaining as a member of the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) and later the United Rail Unions*, which eventually comprised all rail unions with members under National handling. Collectively, the coalitions represented over 115,000 rail workers. The BRS was one of the last three unions at the bargaining table.
President Baldwin stated, “For the first time that I can remember, the BRS members voted not to ratify a National Agreement, and with the highest participation rate in BRS history. I have expressed my disappointment throughout the process in the lack of good-faith bargaining on the part of the NCCC, as well as the part PEB 250 played in denying BRS members the basic right of paid time off for illness. The NCCC and PEB also both failed to recognize the safety-sensitive and highly stressful job BRS members perform each day to keep the railroad running and supply chain flowing. Without Signalmen, the roadways and railroad crossings would be unsafe for the traveling public, and they shoulder that heavy burden each day. Additionally, the highest offices at each Carrier, as well as their stockholders, seem to forget that the rank-and-file of their employees continued to perform their job each day through an unprecedented pandemic, while the executives worked from home to keep their families safe.”
Despite a cap and freeze on healthcare with no negative changes to the plan, General Wage Increases of 22% (24% compounded), and an agreement to bargain on the responsibility pay that Signalmen have been trying to get since 2011, BRS members spoke loudly and clearly that their contributions are worth more, particularly when it comes to a basic right of being able to take time off for illness or to prevent illness.
The rejection of the National Tentative Agreement results in a “status quo” period where the BRS will reengage with the NCCC. More information will follow.
*The unions comprising the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition were: the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / Teamsters Rail Conference (BLET); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Association of Machinists (IAM); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB); the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/SEIU (NCFO); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); the Transportation Communications Union / IAM (TCU), including TCU’s Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division (BRC); and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD). The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division and SMART Mechanical Unions are also bargaining as a coalition. Collectively, these Unions represent approximately 115,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprised 100% of the workforce impacted by this round of negotiations.