General Chairman Edington's Response to the UP Revised Attendance Policy
August 12, 2021
via email only
Ms Jennifer Powell
Director Labor Relations
Union Pacific Railroad Company
1400 Douglas Street, Stop 0710
Omaha, NE 68179
Re: August 1, 2021 TE&Y Attendance Policy
This is in reference to Carrier’s “TE&Y Attendance Policy” that was implemented on August 1, 2021.
It is the position of this Committee that the proposed TE&Y Attendance Policy is in direct violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreements, specifically, the provisions in the Automatic Mark-Up Interpretation, the 1991 and 1992 Crew Consist Agreements and multiple National Agreements.
Carrier’s proposed policy states “An employee who is unable to work full time and protect their employment obligations may be considered in violation of this Policy regardless of the explanation offered.” The Automatic Mark-Up Interpretation, specifically Side Letter #2, requires Carrier to give consideration when an employee or their family member, is extremely ill or hospitalized. Side Letter #2 reads as follows:
” During the parties' discussions UTU voiced concerns that employees laying off could end up in a disciplinary proceeding should the employee fail to be available as prescribed or agreed, through no fault of their own. UTU further explained that consideration must be given to employees that are extremely ill or hospitalized unexpectedly. The same consideration should be extended to employees whose immediate family members become extremely ill or hospitalized unexpectedly.
This letter will confirm the parties commitment to work together to avoid disciplinary proceedings or abuse of these considerations for employees in the above described dilemmas, provided the involved employees provide valid documentation for themselves or their family member(s) regarding the incident(s) or matter(s).”
Carrier has made it quite clear, both in policy language and in practice, that even when employees provide documentation confirming extreme illness or hospitalization for themselves or their immediate family members, they are subject to disciplinary proceedings. Such disciplinary proceedings are held as a matter of strict internal Carrier policy in nearly every case, despite the unwavering efforts of both this office and Local Chairpersons of this Committee.
The Automatic Mark-Up Interpretation requires a process, similar to what other Carriers have done in order to comply, where employees can provide and/or submit documentation for a layoff involving illness for themselves or an immediate family member. Carrier is then required to work with this Office so consideration may be given and disciplinary proceedings avoided. That has yet to occur and Carrier’s August 1, 2021 policy continues the historic and blatant disregard of the contractual requirements. This reckless path Carriers insists upon following places the livelihoods of all employees and their families in jeopardy.
Secondly, the Organization takes exception to the policy language in Section 2, (a) which states, “Any layoff status (including a portion thereof) that occurs between 0600 hours Friday through 1800 hours Sunday points are accumulated as a weekend layoff.” Taking this at face value, an employee who marks up at 0601 on Friday, then works Friday, Saturday and Sunday, would still be assessed points as if they had been unavailable for the entire weekend. This office has addressed this issue in multiple arbitral hearings over the past few years. Arbitrators have unanimously agreed that the Carrier’s assessment of points in this manner were improper.