Dear Brothers and Sisters:

I hope that all of you had a joyful holiday season. On behalf of myself
and the System Council staff I would like to thank those local union
officers, committeepersons, and members who contributed so much of
their time, effort and support throughout 2012 on behalf of the IBEW
membership. Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Effective January 1, 2013, the Railroad Employees National
Vision Plan provider was changed from “VSP” to “EyeMed Vision
Care”. As indicated in the attached documentation, there will be no
change to the Plan design but there will be some enhancements. In
January 2013, all members should receive ID cards, information on
participating providers in your areas and a summary of Benefits.
“EyeMed” can be reached by calling (885) 212-6003 or online at
Legislation enacted in 2011 and 2012 provided for a temporary
reduction of 2 percentage points in the social security payroll tax paid by
employees, but recently expired at the end of 2012. The railroad
retirement tier I tax rate is the same as the social security tax rate and is
divided into 6.20 percent for retirement and 1.45 percent for Medicare
insurance. As a result, railroad employees will see their tier I rate
increase from 5.65 percent to 7.65 percent in 2013. In addition, the
railroad retirement tier II tax rate for employees increased to 4.4 percent
in 2013, up from 3.9 percent, and the employers’ rate increased to 12.6
percent from 12.1 percent.
With the beginning of the new year, I must remind the local unions
to familiarize yourselves and adhere to the applicable reporting
requirements of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Railroad Retirement
Board (RRB) and the Department of Labor (DOL). Local Union
information and forms regarding federal reporting requirements with the
DOL as well as the IRS and RRB can be found at the following websites:
CT-1, 990 & 990 EZ-Postcard        –           www.irs.gov

OE1-A                                                –           www.rrb.gov

LM-2, 3, 4                                           –           www.union-reports.dol.gov

Social Security W-2’s and W-3’s   –           www.ssa.gov

Recently, some states passed initiatives to permit the use of
marijuana for “recreational purposes”. It has been made clear by the
DOT’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance that these
state initiatives will have no bearing on the DOT regulated drug testing
program. The DOT’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation (49 CFR Part
40) does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana,
for any reason. It is important to note that marijuana remains a drug
listed in Schedule I, and remains unacceptable for any railroad safety-
sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the DOT’s drug testing
regulations to use marijuana.

October 2012

  • During the week of October 1st, the System Council staff and I
    attended the annual IBEW Railroad Department conference along
    with the Railroad Coordinating Council and IBEW General
    Chairman meetings.
  • On the date of October 12th, AGC-ST Shell attended a Railroad
    Retirement Educational meeting.
  • On the date of October 16th, the System Council staff and I
    attended a Non-Operating General Chairmen’s meeting with
    Union Pacific personnel. The meeting included topics such as,
    2012 Financial Business results; USERRA; Operation RedBlock;
    PTC update; Mechanical & Engineering Department updates;
    employees returning from LOA; Management changes, and an
    update regarding the Council Bluffs Service Unit.
  • On the dates of October 17th & 18th, the System Council staff and
    I   attended the Union Pacific General Chairmen’s Association

November 2012

  • On the date of November 1st, I participated in a conference call
    with IBEW Railroad Director Bill Bohne’ and System Council 2
    local union representatives regarding important railroad issues at
    stake with the 2012 Presidential election.

    *  During the week of November 1st, VGC Tortorice and AGC
    Starkjohann met with the officers of Salt Lake City, UT Local Union 650.
    *  On the date of November 2nd, VGC Tortorice and AGC Starkjohann
    assisted Local 650 with a disciplinary investigation in Pocatello, ID
    *  On the dates of November 5th and 6th, AGC-ST Shell assisted Little
    Rock Local 807 with a disciplinary investigation.
    *  On the date of November 19th, AGC Shell and I met with Local 942
    Local Chairman Robert Jordan and a local member to discuss an
    upcoming disciplinary investigation.
    *  On November 20th, AGC Shell assisted Local 942 with a disciplinary
    investigation held in Fort Worth, Texas.
    *  On the dates of November 26th and 27th, VGC Tortorice and I toured
    the UPRR Houston, Texas facilities and met with the members and officers of Local 1814.
    *  On November 28th, VGC Tortorice and I attended a UPRR Non-
    Operating Crafts General Chairman business update.
    *  On November 27th, ST Shell had a meeting with the System Council
    2 Accountant regarding some bookkeeping issues.
    *  On the dates of November 28th and 29th, AGC-ST Shell attended
    Financial Officers training at the Coralville University of Iowa.

    December 2012

      * During the month of December, the System Council staff and I
    finalized a list of cases to be docketed before PLB 7001 (UPRR) and
    PLB 7160 (KCS) for arbitration.
    *  On the dates of December 17th and 18th, the System Council staff
    and I met with UPRR Labor Relations to discuss extending the
    provisions of the May 5, 2010, District Electrician Protection Agreement
    (2012 Agreement attached).  We also made several Agreement
    proposals including CDL differential pay which the Carrier is currently
    researching for follow up discussions.  We also met with the Telecom
    Department to discuss the expanding of the PTC wayside installation
    agreement provisions which we are currently reviewing.
    *  On the date of December 19th, AGC’s Shell and Starkjohann met to
    conference oustanding claims with UPRR Labor Relations.

       Throughout the Fourth Quarter, the System Council staff and I have
    been busy filing and processing several new claims and subcontracting
    disputes as well as assisting the membership and local uns with routine
    issues.  Also, pursuant to International President Hill and Secretary
    Chilia’s recommendation, the System Council has recently adopted a
    Policy against Discrimination and Harassment which was approved by
    the System Council Executive Board in December 2012 (here
    enclosed).  Finally, as of this writing, I have secured arbitration dates for
    PLB 7001 and PLB7160 (KCS) for the dates of March 12 and 13,
    2013,subject to approval by the National Mediation Board.

        Please find the following attachments for your review and dissemination:

      1.  RRB Labor Member Barrows  letter – RRB October 2012
    2.  RRB Labor Member Barrows letter – RRB November 2012
    3.  RRB Labor Member Barrows letter – RRB December 2012
    4.  RRB Job Vacancy List – December 3, 2012 see rrb.gov;
    5.  Railroad Employees EyeMed Vision Plan combined
    6.  December 21, 2012 DistrictDistrict Electrician Agreement 12-2012
    7.  System Council No. 2 Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment

         With best wishes, I remain
    Fraternally yours,

                                                           Jim Wisniski
    General Chairman
    cc:  IVP’s System Council 2
    Bill Bohne, Director of Railroads