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The Memorandum of Understanding or Lock-In agreement

NOVEMBER 28, 2022 UPDATE - The votes are in, the ballots have been tallied and we now have secured a workforce stabilization agreement that raises wages by $5.00 per hour for over 800 positions within the BMWED ranks while increasing shift differentials for everyone by over 75%.  This is a landmark agreement that serves BMWED/Amtrak workers well into the future, an envy to our Class I freight counterparts.  There were 1016 ballots returned, of which 8 were voided. There were 712 voting in favor and 296 opposed.  This Memorandum of Understanding will be implemented once we notify Amtrak of the vote results. Thank you to all those who made this agreement a realization.  The strength of our Union and it's membership grew to higher levels. Congratulations to All.

For the past 9 years, the BMWED and Amtrak have kicked around the concept of holding workers in position for a fixed term. Amtrak bemoans operational difficulties associated with what they characterize as an “unstabilized” workforce.  The basis of Amtrak’s lament is contained in the volume of vacancies of key positions which complicate Amtrak’s ability to plan and direct work.  Positions like Foremen and like Production Unit and Rail Train operators. Amtrak highlights numerous training opportunities where workers receive training for these key positions then use assignment rules to bid out to other, non-key positions.  We all know how recent circumstances led Amtrak to cancel certain segments of production schedules due to necessary positions being vacant.

Use this link to view a copy of the tentative ratified MOU Lock-In agreement including Appendix A, which lists the position being considered for lock-ins.

Our Union recognized the value of a stabilized workforce, both monetarily and in terms of fielding more experienced workers.  We understand that workers who remain in a position for a term will earn a higher degree of proficiency. We know that labor’s proficiencies equal bargaining leverage.  We also understand that holding workers to certain positions outside the current contractual rules would require a penalty payment.  That payment is $5.00 per hour.

As with any quid pro quo type of agreement, there are parts to like and parts not to like.  We give something, as in certain positions giving up rights to freely move up and down the rosters.  We get something, as in a $5.00 increase and a 10% shift differential.

The positions being contemplated for Lock-In are: All BMWE Foremen, Inspectors, Pilots and all positions in the Foreman Class, all TLM Operators, Undercutter Operators, Slot Train Operators, Brandt Truck Operators, Welders, Rail Train Operators, and Tamper Operators. These are the positions that are identified in Appendix A, and the positions that will be eligible for the $5.00 lock-in increase. The agreement allows the parties to update Appendix A to include other positions.

Everyone, from Trackman to Truck Drivers to Technicians would be eligible to receive the 10% shift differential.  If your regularly assigned position is currently receiving a $1.00 shift differential, upon acceptance of this MOU that differential would increase to 10% of the straight time hourly rate of pay for the position, and applied to all hours worked. 

Advertisement bulletins will clearly show if the position being advertised is subject to the provisions of the lock-in agreement. Before implementation of this MOU, the workers will be given opportunity to "get into" or "get out of" one of the Appendix A positions, subject to contractual terms and conditions.

Other elements of this MOU address Computer Based Training (CBT), including identifying the training that can not be administered using CBT. Workers will either be paid straight time on an hour-for-hour basis, or credited with comp time for taking the CBT modules, for a cumulative max total of up to 30 hours per year.  One other condition of this MOU is for all new hires who enter service after the implementation date will be indentured to Division Gangs for 120 days, with provisions for their displacement.

This MOU Lock-In agreement will be voted on by our members. We will vote to accept or to reject the terms and conditions in total.  We will not be voting to accept one part and reject another.  Only returned ballots will be counted.  The voting, the administration of the balloting, ballot counting and certification will be conducted by the American Arbitration Association, an experienced independent, not-for-profit organization that provides trusted and impartial certified results. Ballots will be mailed out on November 10, 2022 and counted in Philadelphia on November 28, 2022.

All BMWED members in good standing will receive a ballot at their address of record. Supervisors and Managers will not be eligible to vote.

Questions regarding this tentative agreement can best be answered by area representatives

Page Last Updated: Nov 29, 2022 (03:40:40)
United Passenger Rail Federation BMWED-IBT
190 South Broad Street
Trenton, NJ 08608

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