Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Due to the recent retirement of Brother Ron Lynch, and pursuant to the System Council bylaws, I am appointing Brother Tom Modica of Local 807 to fill the System Council 2 Executive Board position vacated by Brother Lynch for the remainder of its term. Also, Brother Bill Kazak recently accepted a foreman position for the Carrier.  Therefore, I am appointing Brother Alex Avila of Local 1911 to fill the Executive Board position vacated by Brother Kazak for the remainder of its term. The foregoing appointments are currently under review for approval by the
System Council Executive Board.

Negotiation sessions with the nation’s freight railroads (National Negotiations) are ongoing with the most recent sessions in March. The various rail union coalitions are currently working with their Health and Welfare consultant’s s in preparation for upcoming sessions with the rail Carrier’s. I will keep you advised with any updates as they become available.

On January 13, 2015, the System Council attended arbitration with the Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern Railroads. The Awards were recently issued by the Board and provided to the Claimant’s as well as the applicable local unions. We recently docketed additional cases with Public Law Board 7001 (Union Pacific Railroad) and are
waiting for a Board date approval by the National Mediation Board.

The Labor Member of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) Walter Barrows, recently selected Michele Neuendorf and Mark Thompson to serve in the capacity of Assistant to the Labor Member. The appointments became effective on March 9, 2015. At the time of the selection, Ms. Neuendorf was serving as an attorney in the RRB’s Office of General Counsel. Mark Thompson was the manager of the RRB’s district office in Omaha, Nebraska.

Based on a recent DOL news release, investigators established that the Union Pacific Railroad violated the “Federal Railroad Safety Act” when the company retaliated against a Roseville employee for reporting to his supervisors that he was hurt while lifting materials and equipment. As a result, OSHA ordered the railroad to pay the worker $100,000 in punitive and compensatory damages. After being hurt, the employee reported his injury. Although evidence at an investigatory hearing proved otherwise, Union Pacific charged the employee with
causing his own injury by not using proper ergonomic and safety techniques. Subsequently, the company expunged the employee’s record and paid him for the day a tending the investigation and the five days of his suspension. Since the company voluntarily corrected the retaliation, OSHA assessed $50,000 in punitive damages. During another incident in North Platte, a locomotive engineer was disciplined after he reported injuries sustained in a low-speed collision. The engineer received medical attention and had never been disciplined
before, OSHA ordered Union Pacific to pay $350,000 in punitive and compensatory damages and reasonable attorney fees. The Carrier must also remove disciplinary information from the employee’s personal record and provide information about whistleblower rights to its employees. Under the whistleblower protection law, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. Detailed information is available online at

January 2015

*    During the week of January 5th, VGC Tortorice assisted Denver local 708 with a disciplinary investigation.

*    During the week of January 12th, the System Council staff and I attended arbitration before PLB 7001 (Union Pacific) and PLB 7160 (Kansas City Southern.

*    AGC/ST Shell and I met to review current cases and a financial review of the System Council.

*    On the dates of January 28th and 29th, VGC Tortorice assisted Los Angeles local 889 with a disciplinary hearing.

*    During the month of January, AGC Starkjohann met with UPRR Labor Relations regarding the Engineering “District Workforce Agreement” as well the “High voltage” pay differential.

February 2015

    *     During the first week of February, I attended the IBEW General Chairmen’s meeting with IBEW Rail Director Bill Bohne.

    *    AGC Starkjohann met with UPRR Labor Relations regarding the Carrier’s vehicle driving policy.

    *    AGC Starkjohann attended the monthly meeting of Omaha Local 618.

    *    The Shopcraft Organization General Chairmen and I commenced discussions with UPRR Labor Relations regarding the application and administration of the “Single Day” vacation agreement.

    *    AGC Starkjohann assisted Salt Lake City Local 650 with an Investigation.

March 2015

    *    During the week of March 2nd, I accompanied IBEW General Chairmen and Railroad Director Bill Bohne at the National Freight Negotiation sessions.

    *    During the week of March 10th, AGc Starkjohann and I attended a meeting with UPRR Labor Relations and the Telecom Department to discuss driver decertification issues.

    *    On March 11th, the Shopcraft General Chairmen and I finalized an Amendment to the “Single Day” vacation agreement (Attached).

    *    On the date of March 13th, VGC Tortorice attended a Railroad Retirement seminar.

    *    On March 23rd, AGc Starkjohann and I finalized the Electronic Technician and Installation Technician “Helper” Agreements which is aimed to addres driver decertification issues within the Telecom Department. (Attached)

    *    On March 24th, the System Council staff and I attended a Non-Operating Crafts General Chairmen meeting with various UPRR personnel.

    *    On March 25th, I attended the Union Pacific General Chairmen’s Assocation meeting.

    *    On March 31st, VGC Tortorice and AGC Reynosos assisted Houston Local 1814 with a disciplinary investigation.

      Once again, I would like to remind those locals who have recently had any changes in officers of local chairmen to please forward these changes to this office together with addresses, phone, and e-mail so
we may update our records accordingly.

      Please find the following attachments for your review and dissemination:

  1.  Agreement between System Council 2 and UPRR – Vacation single day-3-11-2015 dated March 11, 2015.

  2.  Agreement between System Council 2 and UPRR – ETH-5-23-2015 dated March 23, 2015;

  3.  Agreement between System Council 2 and UPRR – ITH – 3-23-2015 dated March 23, 2015.

  With best wishes I remain,

   Fraternally yours,

  Jim Wisniski
General Chairman

  cc: IVP’s System Council 2
Bill Bohne, Dir of Railroads