OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The two largest unions at BNSF railroad are elevating considerations a few new attendance coverage that went into impact Tuesday, saying it penalizes workers for lacking work for any motive and encourages sick workers to report for obligation.
The unions that characterize 17,000 BNSF employees appealed to the secretaries of Transportation and Labor this week to intervene within the dispute after a federal judge blocked their capacity to strike over the difficulty final week.
Administration officers mentioned Tuesday they had been monitoring the dispute however did not promise any speedy motion to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation unions.
The unions have additionally requested a decide to place the new rules on maintain whereas the lawsuit over them progresses, however the coverage was allowed to take impact.
A Transportation Department spokesperson mentioned the disagreement between BNSF and its unions is ruled by the Railway Labor Act, which “has long ensured prompt and orderly settlement of disputes between companies and unions” with out disrupting commerce. The decide cited that regulation in deciding the unions weren’t allowed to strike as a result of this might seemingly be thought of a minor difficulty that should be resolved by means of arbitration or negotiation.
BNSF mentioned Tuesday it has tweaked its new attendance rules in response to worker considerations but it surely declined to enter element about what modifications it made. Union officers say these modifications have not gone far sufficient and the coverage may immediate further resignations that can exacerbate the continued supply-chain issues.
The railroad has mentioned the new coverage is required to make sure it has the employees it wants accessible to function its trains, and BNSF says the new system provides workers a clearer concept of the place they stand than the outdated system did.
The unions are apprehensive about diseases throughout the pandemic and so they say BNSF’s new attendance coverage would penalize union officers for taking break day to assist characterize their fellow workers at disciplinary hearings and would penalize employees for taking household go away time that’s protected by federal regulation.
BNSF’s coverage “will successfully pressure COVID-19 constructive engineers who worry for his or her jobs to eschew assessments or eschew staying house from work to cease the unfold,” the BLET union mentioned in court docket paperwork.
Also, the unions mentioned the coverage would unfairly cut back the variety of days employees will be off due to fatigue or different considerations from the present 84 days a 12 months to 22 days below the new coverage. The unions mentioned railroad employees are primarily on name 24 hours a day and is perhaps referred to as in to work after only some hours of relaxation due to unpredictable practice schedules.
BNSF, which relies in Fort Worth, Texas, has mentioned the new attendance rules ought to nonetheless enable workers to take break day for holidays and cope with obligations outdoors of labor.
BNSF is without doubt one of the nation’s largest railroads, and it operates 32,500 miles (52,300 kilometers) of monitor in 28 western states.