ALL LOCAL UNIONS SYSTEM COUNCIL NO. 2
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Initially, on behalf of System Council No. 2 I would like to extend the very best to all for a healthy and prosperous new year.
I was recently advised that an increase in denial AetnaSupplemental Sickness benefit claims has occurred due to late filing. IBEW Railroad Director Bill Bohne’ has received the appeals to these claims and notes that there are numerous excuses as to why they were not filed within the sixty (60) day time limit, with many members claiming
that they weren’t aware that the Supplemental Sickness benefits even existed. It is further noted that while there has been some success in having claim denials overturned, it still remains very difficult and few and far between. Therefore, in order to make certain our members receive the benefits they are rightfully entitled to, please distribute and post the attached flyer to your members and on workplace bulletin boards. If
there are any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact this office. Aetna Supplemental Sickness 2016
A Voluntary Disability Insurance Plan was recently introduced by Railroad Marketing Insurance Services and designed specifically for Union Pacific labor member employees. The “plans” benefits are payable while an employee is being held out of service until such time the Carrier’s Medical Department allows them to return to work. This plan will cover the employee while off work for a covered sickness or injury, on or off the job, and will continue to pay a weekly disability bene- fit until cleared by the UPRR Medical Department. Please find the
attached highlight of this program. Open enrollment begins in January 2016, and will be available for ninety (90) days. Please direct any questions to Railroad Marketing Insurance Services at 888 646-
9951. (see attachment)
As a follow up to my previous report, our bargaining coalition held its first “Mediation” session with the National Mediation Board (NMB) in connection with the ongoing national freight railroad negotiations on
November 3, 2015. At this meeting the bargaining coalition laid out major areas of our proposal presented to the Carriers on October 6th, of which the mediators appeared very receptive and understanding of our position. We then discussed the Carrier’s October proposal and advised the mediators that it was far too unreasonable, especially in the area of Health and Welfare where they continue to seek substantial plan design changes to shift more of the costs onto the backs of our members. The main topic during the December 8th and 9th sessions
was the railroads proposed changes to Health and Welfare and their reasoning for such changes. During joint mediation sessions, the Carriers presented their proposal and so-called reasons for the changes. However, the Bargaining Coalition’s Health and Welfare Consultant did a fine job of refuting all of the Carriers reasons for
insisting that they need such drastic changes. The rail Carriers are requesting they bring our plan in line with so-called “main stream” Health and Welfare Plans aligned with other companies across the country. Our position is and remains that the railroads are not “main stream” companies, but rather the top ten percent profit making businesses in the country, and therefore our Health and Welfare benefits should reflect the top ten percent. During mediation sessions in January, time again was spent talking about Health and Welfare issues. While the
Bargaining Coalition feels enough time has been spent on this matter and is time to move on to other issues, the mediators requested additional information from the bargaining coalition and the railroads concerning our respective positons. Subsequent Mediation sessions are scheduled through May 2016, with the next being in early February, of which we are hopeful to move on to other issues. I will continue to keep you updated with any progress.
Due to a decline in coal traffic carloadings in Colorado, the Union Pacific Railroad served notice on November 16, 2015, to close its Denver Burnham locomotive shop and facility. The System Council began negotiations shortly thereafter in order to secure protection benefits for those members adversely affected by the change in operations. On the date of December 1, 2015, the System Council secured an Implementing Agreement providing protective benefits for thirty (30) electrician positions remaining at the Denver North yard facility; thirty-nine (39) electrician positions transferred to North Platte, Nebraska; nine (9) electrician positions transferred to South Morrill, Nebraska, and; five (5) electrician positions transferred to the North Little Rock, Arkansas Jenks Facility. An Agreement allowing for a separation allowance was also included as an option. During the month of December we attended meetings with the members of Denver Local 708 as well as several town hall meetings at the Denver facilities to assist with questions and concerns from IBEW members. I want to thank the Officers of Local 708 and especially President/Local Chairman Jeremy Swartz for all his time and assistance during these trying times.
In early December the Union Pacific served notice to furlough nineteen (19) electrician positions at Roseville, California (Local 1682); eleven (11) electrician positions at Kansas City (Local 1832), and; eighteen (18) electrician positions at Pine Bluff, Arkansas (Local 1758). It was indicated that force reductions were necessary in order to
address the decrease in carloadings and increase in stored locomotives, which ultimately affected the Positive Train Control installation positions at the three locations. The System Council continues to address man power requirements for all locations and departments in order avoid further force reductions and the possibility of
returning those members recently furloughed.
* AGC Reynoso assisted San Antonio Local 1911 with a disciplinary investigation.
* The System Council staff and I attended the annual IBEW Rail Department meeting; IBEW Genral Chairmen’s meeting, and; IBEW Railroad Coordinating Council meeting.
* AGC Shell assisted North Little Rock Local 807 with several disciplinary investigations.
* VGC Tortorice, AGC Shell, and I attended the UPRR Shopcraft General Chairman Coalition meeting with Union Pacific Labor Relations and Mechanical Department personnel.
* VGC Tortorice, AGC Shell. AGC Reynoso and I attended the UPRR Non-Operating craft meeting and UP General Chairman Association meeting.
* VGC Tortorice and AGC Starkjohann presented cases for arbitration before Public Law Board 7001 (UPRR).
* AGC Starkjohann attended the monthly meeting of Omaha Local 618
* AGC/ST Shell and I met to review the financial records and books for System Council 2
* VGC Tortorice and AGc Reynoso assisted Los Angeles Local 8889 with several disciplinary investigations.
* AGC Starkjohann and AGC Shell met with officers of Chicago Local 214 and attended a meeting with management personnel from UPRR Commuter Operations.
* AGC Shell assisted North Little Rock Local 807 with a disciplinary investigation.
* Negotiations with Union Pacific Labor Relations to secure an Implementing Agreement for a transfer of work and shop closing at Denver.
* VGC Tortorice and AGC Reynoso met with officers and members of Local 1682 and toured the Roseville locomotive facility and met with the local management team.
* The System Council staff and I met with the officers and members of Denver Local 708 and attended several Carrier town hall meetings to discuss the Burnham Shop closing and transfer of work.
* Meetings to finalize the Denver Implementing Agreement.
* AGC Starkjohann attended a claims conference to discuss outstanding claims with UPRR.
* AGC Reynoso assisted Fort Worth Local 942 with a disciplinary investeigation.
* AGC Starkjohann assisted Shreveport Local 1829 with a disciplinary matter on the KCS
Throughout the fourth quarter, the System Council has been busy assisting the membership and local unions with everyday issues and concerns. With the beginning of the new year, I must again remind each local union to familiarize and adhere to the applicable reporting requirements of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Railroad
Retiremenet Board (RRB) and tehe 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:
Please find the following attachments for your review and dissemination:
With best wishes, I remain
cc: IVP’s System Council No. 2
Bill Bohne, Dir of Railroads