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Union Pacific Put on Notice Over Crew Staffing

By GO 953 | Feb 23, 2015
Union Pacific Put on Notice Over Crew Staffing image

Over the previous year and into 2015, there has been a noticeable increase of complaints regarding staffing related agreement violations by Union Pacific's CMS department and Local Management. In response to these committee-wide problems, General Committee 953 has formally placed the Union Pacific Railroad on notice.

Union Pacific Railroad, in past UP Online news articles has reported that current furloughs are merely the result of an objective supply-and-demand process. However, in a February 4, 2015 letter to Union Pacific's Executive Vice President of Operations, General Chairman Brent Leonard challenges these "truths", and directly addresses the severe level of contractual violations being proffered by the rail carrier:

Currently, nearly every service unit under the jurisdiction of this General Committee has reduced the number of regularly assigned yard and local freight assignments. Carrier clearly has certain statistical thresholds for the establishment of regular assignments in yard and freight service, but in using these standards, Carrier has failed to properly establish the required minimum number of assignments under the CBAs [Collective Bargaining Agreements]. This results in service units resorting to the utilization of extra, unassigned service from inadequately staffed extra boards, a practice which deprives furloughed employees of a full-time position.

In addition to failing to establish a sufficient number of regular assignments to properly protect service to Carrier's customers, most assignments are being required to work overtime hours, far exceeding the threshold allowed in the CBAs. Again, this excessive and improper overtime deprives furloughed employees of a full-time position.

Some service units have even gone so far as to eliminate or greatly restrict employees' access to a lunch period.

Similar complaints of short-staffing of extra boards and cutting of needed yard assignments and local freight positions are wide ranging- from the Pacific Coast to the Midwest. The results have not only led to an increase in fatigue of the already beleaguered  employees, but has also directly led to what would otherwise be unnecessary furloughs of our youngest members.

In his formal notice to the rail carrier, General Chairman Leonard warns:

Such blatant Agreement violations will not go unchallenged by this Organization or its members. Carrier's financial liability in grievances filed for these "extra" assignments and overtime will likely surpass the expense of simply complying with the Agreements.

While Union Pacific continues to demonstrate its lack of concern for the human condition, neither their promises nor agreements are a guarantee of compliance and such is the purpose of the Railway Labor Act.  Every member must submit a formal grievance for each and every violation, in the form of a timeclaim. As has ever been the case with the Nation's Railroads, financial liability, sadly, appears to be the only motivation for correction of such improper practices.

Note: for a list of time claims and grievances see the template database under "Resources" on this website, or contact your Local Chairman.