SMART - TD Local 306

Serving Sioux City, Mason City & Eagle Grove on UPRR Former C&NW Lines


BLET, SMART–TD, four others to bargain together - 12/17/2014

BLET, SMART–TD, four others to bargain together

CLEVELAND, Dec. 17 — Top leaders of the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART–TD) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) announced today that their organizations will be participating with four other rail unions in coordinated bargaining in the upcoming round of national negotiations.

On Dec. 8, 2014, BLET general chairmen and SMART–TD general chairpersons each served bargaining notices on their respective railroads, including identical notices related to health and welfare and related benefits.

“Today we build on the successes of joint bargaining during the past two national rounds,” said BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce. “Now more than ever before it is imperative that the unions representing railroad operating crafts sit side-by-side at the national table, and I am pleased that we have been able to accomplish that.”

“This is a landmark occasion for BLET members and SMART–TD members alike,” said SMART–TD President John Previsich. “Today’s announcement builds on several years of cooperation between our organizations on a variety of common issues, and is the logical next step for our great unions. Working together will allow rail labor to make the strongest possible effort to obtain for our members the wages and working conditions that they deserve.”

Also participating in the coordinated bargaining effort are the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA), the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS), the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers (IBB), and the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers/SEIU (NCFO).

Jointly, the participating unions represent more than 85,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 58% of the workforce who will be impacted by the negotiations.

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Are rail ‘special duty’ jobs really that special? - 12/1/2014

Are rail ‘special duty’ jobs really that special?

What should union members know before accepting an offer from the railroad to work on a “special duty” assignment?

For starters, “special duty” assignments are generally not positions covered by the agreement with your union. If “special duty” assignments are not covered under your agreement, then you should understand that you do not have the rights and protections afforded to you under your agreement while you are performing these assignments.

It is recommended that you speak with your union representative to learn exactly what your agreement says about “special duty” assignments.

The following are considerations that should be carefully deliberated before accepting these types of assignments:

•Are “special duty” assignments covered under your agreement? What rights and entitlements do you have while working on these assignments?

•In addition to this added work, are you required and/or allowed to perform your regular assignment as well?

•Are you required and/or allowed to work overtime in your own craft while on “special duty” assignments?

•What are the required duties, responsibilities and expectations of employees while working “special duty” assignments?

•Can you refuse to work “special duty” assignments? Can you refuse to perform certain tasks while working on a “special duty” assignment?

•What should you do if the railroad asks you to perform work that violates your agreement?

•What should you do if the railroad asks you to provide them with information regarding matters that may be harmful to your stable work environment?

•What happens if you find yourself subjected to discipline under the railroad’s discipline policies while working on a “special duty” assignment?

•What obligations do you have when the “special duty” assignment ends? Can you stop working on the “special duty” assignment whenever you decide? Can the railroad stop using you on the “special duty” assignment whenever they decide?

As a union member, you are strongly encouraged to notify your union representative prior to considering these types of assignments and seek their advice. In fairness to your fellow brothers and sisters, you should be transparent about the assignment and report any information to your representative that could impact our jobs, our agreement, our union and our future.

This column was prepared by the J.D. Martin Council of Yardmaster General Chairpersons.

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SMART Constitution available online, officers elevated - 11/14/2014

SMART Constitution available online, officers elevated

The official SMART Constitution, as amended by SMART delegates at the first SMART General Convention, is now available on both the SMART website at www.smart-union.org and the Transportation Division website at www.utu.org.

In January 2014, the SMART Sheet Metal and Transportation Division officers completed constitutional modifications required by the terms and conditions of the merger between the two predecessor organizations. That document incorporated the former UTU Constitution into the former SMWIA Constitution as Article 21B of the merged document. At that time, all conflicts between Article 21B and the remainder of the constitution were resolved in order to effectuate the merger.

Earlier this year, delegates to the Transportation Division convention proposed recommendations for amendments to the constitution. At the first SMART General Convention held Aug. 11-15, those amendments were debated and resolved.

The August proceedings in Las Vegas closed with a show of unity, cooperation and newfound strength.

Of significance to SMART’s Transportation Division membership, the amended constitution contained provisions for the addition of a second vice president to the division’s Bus Department and the addition of a member of the Aviation Department to the division’s board of appeals.

The Transportation Division’s board of directors selected former Alternate Vice President – Bus Calvin Studivant to serve as the division’s second bus vice president to serve the Bus Department’s growing membership.

A member of Local 759 at Newark, N.J., Studivant was born June 18, 1960. He served his country in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1986. He has been employed at Community Coach Transportation in New Jersey since June 1993, where he served his local as both a general chairperson and delegate. He also served as a Transportation Division organizer.

To fill the vacant office of alternate vice president– bus, the board of directors elevated former board of appeals member Alvy Hughes to that position.

Hughes began his transportation career with Charlotte Transit in 1995. As a member of Local 1596 at Charlotte, N.C., Hughes has served as local vice president and as both secretary and general chairperson of General Committee of Adjustment GO TMM.

On Oct. 23, the Transportation Division’s board of directors selected Charlotte Transit GO TMD Vice General Chairperson Brenda H. Moore (1715) to fill the open position bus position on the board of appeals.

The board also chose Great Lakes Airlines Local 40 (Denver) President John Nolan to fill the position of aviation representative to the board of appeals.

The complete constitution, as amended, can be viewed here.

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Changes made to SMART Discipline Income plan - 11/12/2014

Changes made to SMART Discipline Income plan

SMART Discipline Income Protection Program has not increased its monthly assessment rates in six years. During that period, the amount that the DIPP plan disbursed in benefits has greatly exceeded the amount that it collected in premiums.

Since DIPP cannot continue to operate effectively at a deficit, the program’s trustees have increased the monthly assessment by five cents for each dollar of benefits – from 66 to 71 cents – effective Feb. 1, 2015, and have reduced the maximum days of benefits payable.

The new maximum-day limits will apply to eligible suspensions and discharges that occur on or after Feb. 1. Plan participants’ current daily benefit will remain in effect and the higher monthly assessments will automatically be deducted from their paycheck unless a participant submits the appropriate change form to modify the daily benefit he or she had previously selected.

The trustees have made additional changes to the DIPP, which are effective Nov. 1, 2014.

A participant now may change his or her monthly assessment no more frequently than every 12 months and any increase or decrease in that rate will only be effective for eligible suspensions or discharges that occur more than 90 days after the increase or decrease.

Benefits for disciplinary actions occurring prior to the expiration of the 90-day period will be paid at the old rate.

Even with these changes, DIPP offers much richer benefits than any of the other discipline income plans and remains the only one that is administered by your union, rather than a for-profit insurance company.

To view the maximum days of benefits payable, click here.

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FRA strengthens rail training requirements - 11/10/2014

FRA strengthens rail training requirements

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Nov. 7 issued a final rule that strengthens training requirements for railroad employees and contractors who perform safety-related work. The rule, which was mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) of 2008, ensures safety-related employees are trained and qualified to comply with any relevant federal railroad safety laws, regulations, and orders.

“Safety is our top priority and this is just the latest step in our mission to ensure the safety of railroad employees, the public and the communities these railroads pass through,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The GROW AMERICA Act will help advance safety by harnessing technology and research, as well as implementing Positive Train Control and updating federal hours of service regulations.”

The rule improves training for all safety-related railroad employees, regardless of whether the person is employed by a railroad, a contractor or a subcontractor, by requiring:

  • Minimum training standards for each type of safety-related railroad employee;
  • FRA review and approval of each employer’s training program to ensure employees will be qualified to measurable standards;
  • Greater use of structured on-the-job and interactive training;
  • Methods for each employer to review and improve training programs annually with a focus on closing performance gaps; and
  • A streamlined, nation-wide approach that bolsters training for operators of roadway maintenance machines equipped with a crane that work across multiple jurisdictions.

“Quality training is fundamental to the execution of safety sensitive railroad duties,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “This regulation ensures the heightened professionalism of the workforce that keeps our railroads running safety and efficiently every day.”

Through the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), FRA is working to complete the actions mandated by RSIA, including developing a framework for the creation and implementation of performance-based programs that anticipate and reduce risk. An RSAC working group has developed recommendations for fatigue management provisions and the agency moving forward with rulemakings related to the transportation of crude oil and ethanol by rail – one focusing on the securement of equipment and the other on the appropriate crew size requirements when transporting highly flammable liquids.

Additionally, FRA is preparing a final rule amending its regulations related to roadway workers and is developing other RSAC-supported actions that advance high-performing passenger rail, such as proposed rules on standards for alternative compliance with FRA’s Passenger Equipment Safety Standards.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) mission is to ensure the safe, reliable, and efficient rail transportation of people and goods for a strong America, now and in the future. The GROW AMERICA Act supports this mission with predictable, dedicated investments that enhance safety and modernize our rail infrastructure to meet growing market demand. The Act also builds on current investments to vastly improve the system in areas ranging from Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation to enhancing flexibility in financing programs that will better enable the rehabilitation of aging infrastructure.

To view the final rule, click here.

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SMART UTU Local 306

No job is so important, no service is so urgent that we cannot take the time to perform our work safely!


Your Local Officers are here to protect you - help us all by calling when you need assistance!  Don't settle for the carrier's attitutude toward you - be involved!

 

YOUR Union Meetings are:

Eagle Grove - 2nd Wednesday of each Month; Godfather's Pizza at 8:00 pm

Mason City - 3rd Wednesday in January, April, July, October; Pizza Ranch at 7:30 pm

Sioux City - As Needed 

 

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