Dear Sisters and Brothers:

Initially, I report that Vice-Chairman/Secretary Treasurer Pat Perry announced his retirement effective June 1, 2010. For over twenty years, Brother Perry has been devoted in leading and representing the membership with one objective, to improve the lives of those he served. I’m sure for those of you who know Pat will agree that he is a true friend and his tireless efforts and dedication to the membership of System Council No. 2 and the Labor Movement will not be forgotten. Pat will greatly be missed and we thank him for his support over the years.

In anticipation of his retirement, Brother Perry recommended that I appoint Assistant General Chairman Randy Shell to succeed him in office concurrent with his retirement. Over the past twenty years Brother Shell has served as General Chairman-Secretary Treasurer for System Council No. 27; Vice Chairman for System Council No. 14; and, currently serves as Assistant General Chairman for System Council No. 2. Moreover, Randy is familiar with financial record keeping and reporting obligations relative to labor organizations and recently attended a course involving Union Financial Officer responsibilities. Therefore, in accordance with Article IV, Section 5 of the System Council No. 2 Bylaws, I have appointed Assistant General Chairman Randy Shell with the unanimous approval of the System Council Executive Board, to succeed Vice Chairman/Secretary Treasurer Perry’s office, effective June 1, 2010.

January 19, 2010, marked the beginning of negotiations for the National Freight Railroad bargaining between the Carrier’s represented by the National Carrier’s Conference Committee (NCCC) and a bargaining coalition consisting of the IBEW, American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA), the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the Transportation Communication Workers (TCU), the TCU Brotherhood of Railroad Carmen (BRC), and the Transportation Workers Union (TWU). Subsequent dates for negotiations have been scheduled for the upcoming months with the next meeting scheduled in April. The initial meeting in January began with a brief overview of the demands set forth in the coalitions common Section 6 Notice with further discussions concerning Health and Welfare. I will keep you updated as the bargaining process progresses.

Throughout the first quarter of 2010, I am pleased to report that several of our furloughed members employed at the Shreveport, LA “Kansas City Southern” facility and the Rockland, CA “Progress Rail” facility have been recalled to service. We are currently pursuing recall of the remainder of those still in a furloughed status as business is beginning to increase compared to this same period in 2009. In addition, Union Pacific has begun hiring Electricians at several of its locations, including North Little Rock, Los Angeles and North Platte.

January 2010

  • On January 7th, AGC Shell assisted LU 942 Local Chairman Rex Davis with a disciplinary investigation at the Union Pacific Fort Worth, Texas facility.
  • During the week of January 19th, I attended the initial meeting for National Freight Railroad Bargaining between the Bargaining Coalition and the NCCC in Washington DC.
  • On January 26th, I attended an IBEW General Chairman’s meeting with IBEW Railroad Department Director Bill Bohne.
  • During the week of January 27th, VGC Perry met with LU 1920 Local Chairman Dave Hunt and assisted with a disciplinary investigation at North Platte, NE.
  • During the month of January, the System Council staff and I finalized preparation of submissions for arbitration scheduled for February 24th before PLB 7001 with Union Pacific.

February 2010

  • On the dates of February 10th & 11th, AGC Shell assisted LU 1814 Local Chairman John Wolff with two disciplinary investigations at the Houston, TX facility.
    • On February 11th, AGC Tortorice attended a disciplinary investigation and meeting together with LU 889 Local Chairman Rick Reynoso at West Colton, CA.
    • During the week of February 16th, myself, AGC Shell, and representatives from the IAM and NCFO met with Carrier representatives at the UPRR San Antonio facility to discuss recent furloughs and current and future staffing needs at the facility. In attendance for the Carrier were Mechanical Superintendent Ed McCaddon, Superintendent Brian Gorton, Manager Phil Haney, and Labor Relation representatives Andrea Gansen and Mike Phillips. During our discussions, the unions provided information to support that furloughs were a result of a “transfer of work” rather than a decline in business as the Carrier suggested. The Carrier recently responded to the information which we provided during the meeting maintaining that furloughs were a result of business levels. We are currently reviewing this information for further action.
    • Also, on February 17th, I met with Labor Relations to discuss outstanding issues with the implementation and application of the Certified Training Instructors (CTI’s) assigned at the various locations pursuant to the 2005 Agreement. Labor Relations assured me that they would follow up on this matter and a proposal to resolve the issues would be forthcoming.
    • On February 18th, AGC Tortorice assisted LU 889 with a disciplinary investigation at Los Angeles, CA.
    • On February 24th, the System Council staff and I attended arbitration before PLB 7001 with the Union Pacific.

    March 2010

    • On March 2nd, AGC Tortorice assisted Los Angeles Local 889 with an audit by the Internal Revenue Service. Following review, it was determined that all the books and reports were in order.
    • On March 9th, AGC Shell and I met with LU 942 Local Chairman Rex Davis. On March 10th, AGC Shell assisted Brother Davis with a disciplinary matter at the Fort Worth facility.
    • On March 24th, myself and staff attended a UPRR Non-Operating Crafts meeting consisting of presentations and an open discussion about the “iTrakforce” Electronic Job Bulletin system; the Company’s financial situation and operating outlook; Mechanical Department update; Engineering Department update; and, legislative issues affecting the industry.
    • On March 25th, I attended the regular meeting of the Union Pacific General Chairman’s Association. Later that day, AGC Shell and I attended a meeting with UPRR Labor Relations personnel, and Manager Facility Maintenance Davy Pavlica and Director Signal Engineering David Olsen to discuss the District facility Electrician forces as well as the Carrier’s use of outside contractors. We are scheduled for a follow-up meeting in May.
    •  On March 29th, AGC Shell visited the KCS Shreveport facility and  met with Local Chairman John Colding concerning a disciplinary matter.
    • On the date of March 30th, I met with AGC Shell to finalize our cases scheduled for arbitration with the KCS before PLB 7160 on April 22nd.

    Throughout the first quarter, the System Council staff experienced an increase with progressed claims, primarily “discipline”. VGC Pat Perry has been busy finalizing the fiscal year end reports as well as preparing for a smooth transition with the upcoming transfer of his office and duties to Brother Shell. As a final reminder, the 2010 IBEW Railroad Department Conference is scheduled to be held May 20 – 21, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. If you have any problems with registration, please contact the Railroad Department at (202) 728-6053.

    Please find the following attachments for your review and dissemination:

    1. RRB Labor Member Speakman’s letter – January 2010 publication; see http://rrb.gov
    2. RRB Labor Member Speakman’s letter – February 2010 publication;  see http://rrb.gov
    3. RRB Labor Member Speakman’s letter – March 2010 publication;
    4. RRB job vacancy list dated March 2, 2010; see rrb.gov
    5. RRB Scheduled Informational Conferences dated March 2, 2010;  see http://rrb.gov
    6. AFL-CIO “Good Jobs Now

    With best wishes, I am

    Fraternally yours,

    Jim Wisniski
    General Chairman
    Cc:      IVP’s System Council 2
    Bill Bohne, Director of Railroads
    Pat Perry, VGC SC2