Tuesday, May 24, 2022
May 24, 2022

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Railroad contract talks head for mediation after impasse declared

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Contract talks between the biggest freight railroads and unions that represent 105,000 employees are headed to mediation this week after the unions declared an impasse following more than two years of negotiations.

The unions said Monday that the contract talks had deadlocked because the railroads are still seeking concessions, even after workers remained on the job throughout the pandemic and endured significant staff cuts in recent years as the railroads overhauled their operations.

“Our members have earned, and rightfully expect, a substantial contract settlement that recognizes the sacrifices they and their families make each day,” the coalition of 10 rail unions said in their statement. “Instead, the Carriers continue to push proposals that fail to even catch up to the cost of living.”

Michael Maratto, general counsel of the National Railway Labor Conference that represents the railroads, said it is routine for federal mediators to get involved in contract talks, and the railroads welcome their help in reaching an agreement.

The NRLC group is negotiating on behalf of more than 30 railroads, including Union Pacific, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, CSX and Kansas City Southern.

Since 2017, the major freight railroads have collectively cut more than 20 percent of their staff as the industry adopted a new operating model called Precision Scheduled Railroading.

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