ALL LOCAL UNIONS                 


Dear Sisters and Brothers:

Due to the recent retirement of Brother Pat Perry and pursuant to the
System Council No. 2 bylaws, I appointed Brother Dave Starkjohann
( Omaha Local 618) to fill the System Council No. 2 Executive Board
position vacated by Brother Perry. In December 2010, the System
Council Executive Board unanimously approved this appointment. We
welcome Brother Starkjohann and look forward to working with him in
the future.

             During the October, November, and December mediation
sessions, the Carriers represented by the NCCC presented the Nat-
ional Bargaining Coalition consisting of the IBEW, IAM, TCU, TWU
and ATDA with their initial Health and Welfare proposals, which
would ultimately increase and shift health care costs to the employees,
while providing no significant wage increases. The Bargaining coalition
concluded that additional mediation sessions would be futile and merely
delay the process of reaching an agreement. Therefore, based on the
parties’ fundamentally opposite positions, the Bargaining Coalition
unions agreed to request the National Mediation Board (NMB) to
immediately proffer arbitration. Once a proffer of arbitration is issued by
the NMB, either side may reject the proffer and the dispute will then
move to the next stage of handling, at which point the unions and the
railroads will be able to take additional measures to resolve the dispute
(such as “self-help”). At this point, the NMB has not advised as to
whether they will release the Bargaining Coalition from Mediation and
proffer arbitration. The next mediation session is currently scheduled for
the dates of January 25th and 26th in Washington DC. I will continue to
keep you advised with any updates. (See attached – IBEW Rail
Department “National Freight Railroads Bargaining Update
November 19, 2010”)

             On November 9, 2010, the Rio Grande Employees Hospital
Association (RGEHA) served notice advising the membership of its
intent to cease operations and merge with Union Pacific Rail
Employees Health Systems (UPREHS) effective January 1, 2011. The
participating membership of the RGEHA included those IBEW
members working for the Union Pacific Mechanical department in
Denver, Colorado, Local Union 708. Following numerous discussions
between this office, Union Pacific Railroad, United Health Care, and
IBEW Rail Director Bohne’, it was agreed that the membership may
opt-out as a group from Hospital Association coverage into the
Railroad Employees National Health and Welfare Plan administered by
United Health Care. The membership was provided a comparison
between the UPREHS and the National Plan and instructed to conduct a
vote to elect coverage between one of the two plans by no later than
December 10th. On the date of December 8th, this office was notified
that the membership concluded a secret ballot vote and by a large
majority elected coverage under the National Plan. Concurrently, this
office finalized an agreement with the Carrier to transfer the Denver
membership into the National Plan effective January 1, 2011.

On the date of October 8, 2010, this office together with Assistant
General Chairman Don Tortorice, served notice and commenced
negotiations with Progress Rail Services with the intent to modify the
collective Bargaining Agreement covering the membership of Local
Union 800 at the Rocklin, California Traction Motor facility. During our
many discussions over the past three months, each party exchanged its
various proposals and dialog in an effort to resolve our differences. On
December 16, 2010, System Council No. 2 reached a tentative
agreement with Progress Rail. This agreement, covers all IBEW Local
800 members working for Progress Rail at the Rocklin, California
facility. This agreement was time consuming and took some time to
attain. Initially, the company wanted to provide minimal wage increases
and wanted major work rule changes. While it should be understood that
negotiations are a give and take process, we were able to limit the
Company to minimal changes with increased wages and improvements
to the agreement. On December 21st, I was notified by Local 800
President John Angland that the tentative agreement had been ratified
by a large margin. Therefore, the agreement was fully executed on
December 29, 2010, and covers the period of January 1, 2011 through
December 31, 2014. I would like to thank Local Union 800 and their
committee for the input and assistance with the negotiating process.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently amended
the Federal Register to reflect adjustment of the FRA monetary reporting
threshold from $9,200 to $9,4000 effective January 1, 2011. (See
Also attached is the updated FRA post-accident testing
flow chart for 2011 with the updated monetary threshold.

October 2010

  • **On October 7th & 8th, VGC Shell attended a Labor Management class covering issues with Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Amercans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • **On the date of October 12th the System Council staff and I attended a Non-Operating Crafts Union Leadership meeting with various Union Pacific personnel. During this meeting, various presentations were provided concerning Company financial and business overview; safety in the mechanical and engineering departments; work standardization for locomotive and car departments; Friend-to Friend Network; Positive Train Control update; DOT regulations and compliance; and, Drug & Alcohol Testing procedures.
  • **On the dates of October 13th & 14th, the System Council staff and I attended the Union Pacific General Chairman’s Association meeting with presentations by OSHA, FRA & the RRB.
  • **During the week of October 18th, I attended the National Freight Railroad Bargaining session between the Bargaining Coalition and the NCCC.
  • **On October 28th, I attended the annual retiree dinner of Fort Worth Local 942.
  • **On October 28th, VGC Shell attended a Union Pacific General Chairman’s update and a tour of mining and rail operations near Bill, Wyoming.


November 2010

  • On the dates of November 1st & 2nd, I attended the National
    Freight Railroad mediation session between the Bargaining
    Coalition and the NCCC.
  • On the date of November 9th, VGC Shell attended an all craft
    meeting in Houston, Texas.
  • During the week of November 9th, AGC Tortorice and I attended
    meetings with Union Pacific at the Omaha office to discuss
    various issues with the Federally mandated Positive Train Control
  • On November 9th, VGC Shell and I met at the System Council
    office to discuss outstanding claims with Union Pacific and the
    Kansas City Southern.
  • On November 30th, AGC Tortorice met with Denver Local 708
    membership to discuss and assist with questions concerning the
    option to convert to the National Health and Welfare Plan.

December 2010

  • On the dates of December 7th & 8th, I attended the National
    Freight Railroad mediation session between the Bargaining
    Coalition and the NCCC.
  • On December 14th, VGC Shell met with the Kansas City Southern
    Railway to discuss outstanding issues and claims. He later met
    with the officers of Kansas City Local 1832.
  • On the date of December 14th, I finalized a one-step discipline
    appeal agreement with the Kansas City Southern Railway.
  • On December 16th, VGC Shell attended a Third Party Arbitration
    involving the BRS and UPRR to which the IBEW was a third party
    to the dispute.
  • On December 17th, VGC Shell attended the annual Christmas
    party for North Platte Local 1920.
  • On December 29th, following three months of negotiations, AGC
    Tortorice and I finalized a four year Agreement between Progress
    Rail Services and System Council No. 2 covering the membership
    of Local 800, Rocklin, CA.

The System Council staff and I are currently preparing a list of
cases to be docketed for arbitration. I anticipate that we will secure a
hearing date in the near future and will notify the claimants and
applicable local unions once this date is confirmed.

Please find the following attachments for your review and
1.    RRB Labor Member Speakman’s letter – October 2010 publication;
2.    RRB Labor Member Speakman’s letter –RRB November 2010
3.    RRB Labor Member Speakman’s letter – December 2010 publication;
4.    RRB Job Vacancy list;
5.    IBEW Rail Department “National Freight Railroads Bargaining Update November 19, 2010;
6.    Federal Register Notice & updated FRA post-accident testing
flow chart for 2011.

With best wishes, I am

Fraternally yours,

Jim Wisniski