Union Votes Against Ratification of National Rail Deal

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) has voted against ratification of the tentative national agreement reached with the Class I freight railroads.

The union said that the vote sends the two sides back to the bargaining table and resets the countdown to a potential work stoppage.

The American Arbitration Association counted and verified the election results. In total, 11,845 BMWED members submitted ballots, 6,646 against ratification and 5,100 approving the tentative agreement.

Another 99 ballots were submitted blank or voided for some other user error.

“The majority of the BMWED membership rejected the tentative national agreement and we recognize and understand that result,” President Tony D. Cardwell said. “I trust that railroad management understands that sentiment as well.

“Railroaders are discouraged and upset with working conditions and compensation and hold their employer in low regard. Railroaders do not feel valued,” Cardwell added. “They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness. The result of this vote indicates that there is a lot of work to do to establish goodwill and improve the morale that has been broken by the railroads’ executives and Wall Street hedge fund managers.”

The rejection of the tentative agreement results in a “status quo” period where the BMWED will reengage bargaining with the Class I freight carriers. That status quo period will extend to 5 days after Congress reconvenes, which is currently set for Nov. 14.

Assuming Congress returns to session on Nov. 14, there could be no “self help” until after Nov. 19, the union said.

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