Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Following a month-long ratification process IBEW Rail members
overwhelmingly ratified the National Freight Agreement by a margin of
75 percent in favor to 25 percent against. On the date of January 4,
2012, the votes were tallied by the IBEW Railroad Department together
with Railroad General Chairmen from System Councils 2, 6, 9 and 16.
The Rail Carrier’s were immediately notified of the members decision
and new wage rates were adjusted on or about February 1, 2012. The
retroactive wage payments should have been made within 60 days of
ratification, and lump sum payments within 90 days. The Presidential
Emergency Board Report; complete National Agreement, as well as a
synopsis of the agreement can be found on either the IBEW website,
Railroad Department Section, or the System Council No. 2 website at

On the date of January 5, 2012, Assistant General Chairmen
Shell and Starkjohann attended an “all hands meeting” in Kansas City,
Mo., with IBEW Organizers and workers from the GE Transportation
Traction Motor facility to prepare for an upcoming election at the GE
plant. During this meeting, the System Council as well as
representatives from Railroad Local 1832 were able to field questions
and talk about the market for GE Transportations product within the rail
industry. Thus, on the date of January 27th, after three failed organizing
campaigns in almost four years, the workers at the Kansas City GE
Transportation facility voted 44 to 41 for representation by Kansas City
Local 1464. It is the first organizing victory at GE in 10 years.

On February 7, 2012, the FRA issued a Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking regarding new regulations regarding training requirements
applicable to safety-related railroad employees. These proposed
regulations were issued pursuant to the Rail Safety Improvement Act’s
mandate to establish minimum training standards. The proposed
regulations would impose new requirements on how the carrier’s or
contractors train their employees. The training program must cover
federal safety laws, rules and regulations and would be required to
submit a training program to the FRA for approval of which the FRA has
the authority to request changes. The proposed regulations make clear
that the training requirements apply to only federal mandates – i.e.,
designed to ensure compliance with safety-related federal laws, rules
and regulations. The regulations appear to strongly encourage “On the
job” training and provide guidance as to how to conduct such training.
The proposed regulations exempt all employees currently performing
safety-related duties from newly required training programs. Within two
years after the rule’s effective date, carriers must designate employees
that are qualified to handle safety related duties, and employees that are
not designated as qualified will not be permitted to perform such duties.
Employees designated as qualified, or who complete the training under
these regulations with one carrier will be deemed qualified if they begin
work with another carrier. Beginning two years after the effective date of
the regulations, employees who are not now performing safety-related
duties but who will be assigned such duties in the future, or who now
perform such duties but may be assigned new or different safety-related
duties in the future, will have to be trained under these provisions.
Finally, the regulations will require refresher training at no more than
three year intervals.

Due to increasing responsibilities and matters affecting our
brothers and sisters working in the Telecommunication Department, I
recently assigned Assistant General Chairman Dave Starkjohann to the
staff of System Council No. 2, effective March 1, 2012. Dave has been
an IBEW member with the Union Pacific Telecom Department for fifteen
years where he has worked as an Electronic Technician and Senior
Electronic Technician. He served Omaha Local 618 as Local Chairman
for over eight years and was appointed to a part-time Assistant General
Chairman for the System Council in 2006. In addition to handling claims,
grievances and disciplinary matters, Brother Starkjohann will oversee
and assist this office with matters relating to the Telecommunication and
Engineering departments. Brother Starkjohann’s contact information is
as follows:

David Starkjohann
1770 Mobile Ave.
Logan, IA 51546-6048

  Email: ibew618sc2@wildblue.net

  Phone: 402 515-1756    

Throughout the first quarter, this office and staff has been carefully
monitoring the UPRR Positive Train Control installation project and
staffing. Most system locomotive shop locations have experienced job
growth to include new electrician positions responsible for the
locomotive PTC installations.  I have received positive feedback by the
carrier concerning the development and advancement of the project as
well as to the dedication of the IBEW membership. The UPRR has
indicated that they will begin hiring additional Telecom employees in the
near future to assist with wayside PTC radio installations. We are
currently scheduled to meet again with the Kansas City Southern
Railway on May 3, 2012 to further discuss plans for the PTC installation
on that property.

January 2012

  • During the week of January 2nd, I attended the ballot counting
    ratification process regarding the National Freight Rail Agreement
    at the IBEW Railroad Department.
  • On the date of January 5th, AGC’s Shell and Starkjohann attended
    an Organizing campaign meeting regarding GE Transportation
    Traction Motor facility located in Kansas City, MO.
  • On the date of January 6th, AGC’s Shell and Starkjohann attended
    a disciplinary investigation at the Kansas City Southern facility in
    Kansas City, MO.
  • On January 9th, I met with the officers and attended the monthly
    meeting of Fort Worth Local Union 942.
  • On January 17th, AGC Shell attended the monthly meeting of Little
    Rock Local Union 807.

  *  On the date of January 24th, the SC staff and I attended a meeting with the UPRR Telecom Management and Labor Relations, Omaha, NE.

*  On the date of January 25th, I attended a local chairman’s meeting together with UPRR Mechanical Department personnel and Labor Relations, Omaha, NE

    *  On the date of January 26th, the System Council staff and I met with Union Pacific Labor Relations to discuss outstanding claims, Omaha, NE.

                                         February 2012

     *  On the date of February 8th, VGC Tortorice attended a disciplinary investeigation at Roseville, CA where he assisted Local Union 1682.

    *  During the week of February 10th, I attended the IBEW Railroad Department General Chairman’s meeting.

     *   On February 17th, AGC Shell attended a disciplinary investigation in Shreveport, LA, Local 1829.

     *   On February 28th, VGC Tortorice assisted Los Angeles Local 889 with a disciplinary hearing.

                                            March 2012

     *  On the date of March 8th, AGC Starkjohann attended the UPRR Northern Region management team forum to discuss the Northern Region’s 2011 results, 2012 plans, YTD Rresults, TSC, and growth with Service Performance Initiatives.

     *  On the date of March 20th, the System Council staff atended a UPRR Non-Operating Crafts Union Leadership meeting with various Union Pacific personnel.  The meeting included topics such as, UP Way update; SAP system implementation; changes to various UP computer systems; changes to the application process for “right of selection” jobs, and/ Strauss/Santa Teresa, New Mexico facility update.

    *  On the date of March 21st and 22nd, the System Council staff attended the Union Pacific General Chairman’s Association meeting.

     * On the date of March 28th, AGC Starkjohann attended a meeting with UPRR Engineering Department to discuss its plans for standard work and UP Way.

     *  On the date of March 29th, AGC Starkjohann together with representatives of the IAM and NCFO attended a follow up meeting with the Kansas City locomotive facility and Mechanical personnel Barry Kanuch and John Estes.

     During the first quarter, the System Council has had an increase in claims and grievances to progress.  In addition, we have been busy preparing and finalizing submissions to be heard before Public Law Board 7001 on April 18, 2012.  The claimants and local unions have been notified accordingly.

     Please find the following attachments for your review and dissemination:

  1.  RRB Labor Member Barrow letter – RRB-JANUARY 2012
   2.  RRB Labor Member Barrow letter – February 2012 publication;
  3.  RRB Labor Member Barrow letter –RRB-MARCH 2012
  4.  RRB Job Vacancy list – March 8, 2012; see rrb.gov
  5.  RRB Scheduled Information Conferences – March 7, 2012;
       see rrb.gov
  6.  Railroad Information Depot RR INFORMATION DEPOT

  With best wishes I remain

Fraternally yours,

  Jim Wisniski
General Chairman

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