The next meeting is on October 8th, 2014.

9am at Saints Ave Cafe, Boone IA.


PL Days - 10/6/2014

As a reminder,  if you have PL days remaining they need to be DENIED or used by DEC 31.  Once they are denied, tell CMS you want to carry them over to next year. Once they are carried over, you then have until May 1, 2014 to use them.  Conductors get PL days every year.  Engineers must have 180 starts in the current year to receive PL days for next year.  If you are a setback engineer promoted to engineer, your starts you had as a conductor will count for next years calculation of PL days.

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UTUIA - 6/4/2014

The UTUIA rep will be at our meeting on June 11 to discuss the different insurance options to our members.  Please join us if you have questions about any insurance SMART/UTU offers.

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UTUIA - 6/4/2014

The UTUIA rep will be at our meeting on June 11 to discuss the different insurance options to our members.  Please join us if you have questions about any insurance SMART/UTU offers.

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Meeting! - 4/7/2014

We have several topics that need to be discussed at the meeting on Wed.  If your in town please join us!!

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SWITCHES!!! - 1/29/2014

We have had 2 run-thru switch incidents this month.  These are LEVEL 4 violations in the discipline policy.  The carrier will not budge if this happens to you!  Make sure you have a complete job breifing with your engineer before you move (route is lined, derail is down, etc)  your train.  It is better to check the switch twice than just assume it is lined for you!!

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Shoving Audits - 1/29/2014

The carrier is starting up there shoving audits again.  If you are audited, it will be non-punitive.  These 5 questions must be answered in the job breifing before you begin a shove: who is protecting, where protection will be provided, distance, direction, and route.  Make sure you answer these before you move! 

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Adds!! - 1/28/2014

I have been informed they have added 5 turns on 1-28-14 to the XK30 in Boone.  I am still pushing to get more added to the Pools.  This is ongoing.  I have added a safety hotline comment today and appreciate if you would add some too.

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MCBKC - 1/17/2014

If you are called for MCBKC at Boone, they are instructing you to deadhead to Mason City after you yard your train at Des Moines.  We are working with the General Chairman to address this issue.  In the mean time crews should be putting in a claim for 2 trip rates.  The language you should use is posted on the board at Boone.

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FMLA - 1/17/2014

To request FLMA or MLOA paperwork, it is the ehealth safe in myUP.  It will walk you through all the forms you need and where to send them.

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New HIres - 10/14/2013

If you are assigned a new hire, you are entitled to the extra pay for training them.  Make sure your pay screens reflect this when you tie up.

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Switching Moves - 10/14/2013

If you are instructed to switch out your train (MKCMC) when you get to Boone, Keep in mind that if you make more than 3 shoving moves,  (pulling in a cutting off does not count) you can claim a days pay.  Be sure you keep your copy of the paperwork showing what moves you made and to what tracks.  Management may tell you that this is not a good claim, but they did not write the agreements.  Info about the claim is in the download section.

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Arrival at Mason City - 10/14/2013

The arrival point at Mason City is now mp189.4. (South signal at flint).  Note is also posted on the bulletin board.

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Conductor Logs - 10/14/2013

IF you have a new hire with you, they are not the only one to be filling out the log book.  They are just learning and will make errors.  The Conductor is responsibile for the correct log book and will be FTX'd on it.  The Carrier will take exception to you if they find this.  DON'T BE A STATISTIC!!!

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Peer Trainer - 10/14/2013

Ralph Hardy is the new Peer Trainer for Boone.  Any students that have scheduling problems, work questions or union questions my contact him.  515-290-1824.  You may contact me also regarding issues.  IF you do not want students, please let Ralph know.  There are currently 7 new hires that are out on the property.  They will primarily be on working trains and locals.  After they graduate from brakeman school, they will be out on the E/W main.  That is not scheduled to happen until late November. 

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Securement!!! - 10/14/2013

Make sure that when you secure your train, or setout, that it has the proper amount of brakes.  Refer to the Superintendents Bulletins for specifics on securement.  Make a release test to make sure they hold.  FRA and Carrier have seen an increase in instances where trains were not secured.  Be aware!!

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Annual Picnic - 9/4/2013

Just as a reminder, our Local #329 Annual Picnic is on Sept. 11.  Meeting will be at 9 am at the McHose Park Shelter House.  Picnic will begin at 4p.m.

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Wage Increase - 6/7/2013

F.Y.I. Effective July 1, 2013, the rates of pay will increase by 3%.  Also the 2010 National Agreement has been posted in the Download Section.

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Detection of System Access - 6/7/2013

The Carrier can now detect if you are using the mobile website while you are on duty!  This is now a Level 4!.  Discipline will be assessed on a case by case basis until all "bugs" are worked out of the system.

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Standing bids Notice - 6/7/2013

Standing bids Notice

The company is going to purge standing bids that were entered prior to 07/31/13.

Everyone needs to check and see if your bids on file reflect what you want

Also whenever you get assigned to a new job make sure you check your bids so that don't get reassigned to a job you no longer want because of an old bid.

I have seen 2 cases recently where people have been assigned to a job they no longer want because of old bids.  Clean up your old bids.

Reread the 4 new agreements!!

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Rules Exam - 1/2/2013

The Rules Exam schedule for 2013 is posted in the yard office.  See a manager for the study guide.

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Family Days - 9/6/2012

CMS will allow people to Layoff on SATURDAY ONLY for family day.  You may layoff 4-12hours depending on what you have planned.  This will not affect your attendence, but WILL affect your guarantee.  Depending on how much time you take off will effect your guarantee.  If you are on the extra board, when you mark up your turn will go to the bottom.  If you are on the Pool your turn will be held a min of 8 hours, after that it may go out depending on if there is enough manpower to fill it.  Notes will be posted at the yard office.

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YBO51 - 8/28/2012

The switch job in the yard CANNOT attach themselves to your train to help you make a double, arm an eot,etc, etc.  They are there to switch cars.  The footboard can give you info where your train is at and what needs to be done before you depart.  If there is a utility working, they can help you but not the switch crew.

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Safety Hotline - 8/28/2012

Be sure to Logout of the UP website when you are done with it.  Somebody has been putting comments that don't belong in the Safety Hotline on individuals that leave themselves logged in.  The carrier can discipline you for this!!  Govern yourselves accordingly.

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FRA Tie-up - 6/8/2012

Watch your FRA tie-ups.  The FRA did an audit on these, and found lots of errors.  Remember to show deadheads in connection with your train.  They will be cracking down on these soon!

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Claims Information Packet - 5/8/2012

I have put in the download section a Claims Information Packet.  It explains how to submit claims for agreement violations.  This is a work in progress, so it will be updated.  I will be handing out some copies at the meeting on 5-9-12 and going over the packet after the meeting.  You can download this for your reference also.

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Clinton Connection - 4/18/2012

Before you deliver a train to the IC&E at Clinton, make sure you have permission to occupy the siding at Camanche from the IC&E dispatcher.

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FMLA - 4/18/2012

If you have FMLA and need to take a day of it, but the RR wont let you until you use your compensated days first, Let me know A.S.A.P!  This is against the law.  It has been happening on other service units around the system, so it if happens to you, let me know. 

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WARNING!! - 4/9/2012

If you have an incident, (derailment, run through switch, etc, etc) and the manager on duty wants you to sign off on it right away, DO NOT DO IT without confering with your local chairman first!  We have seen several cases where something happens to a member and the manager on duty wants the member to sign off right away.  This goes against the collective barganing agreement and you could be admitting to something you never did.  If this happens to anyone let me know a.s.a.p!

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AWTS - 4/7/2012

The new AWTS agreement has been signed.  It will now be the one we use.  If you are trying to place your bids for the AWTS/AWRR, It wont work at this time.  I will everyone know when you can.

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New AWTS Agreement - 3/23/2012

I have posted the new AWTS Agreement in the download section of the website. 

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AWTS Cancellation Notice 2012 - 2/23/2012

The Carrier has served its 20 day notice to cancel the current AWTS agreement.  The new AWTS agreement that the Carrier has offered is significantly different and is detrimental to both employees assigned to the AWTS and to those employees working in active service.  In the Download section of the website, there is a letter from the General Chairman to the Local Chairman explaining the proposed changes to the AWTS.  It is titled "AWTS Cancellation 2012."  I am looking for feedback on this so please email me at:

djsmith329@hotmail.com

When more information comes available, I will post it.

Darin

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25 mile zone claim - 1/25/2012

If you went to "xl" or "u" avenue to get on a westbound train during the signal suspension, you have a 25 mile zone claim.  You can adjust your timeslip on the computer to reflect this and it is good for 4 hours.  It is on the "available claims" screen when you adjust your timeslip.  F.Y.I.  only good for Conductors.

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National Agreement is Ratified - 9/2/2011

National Rail ContractA new national rail contract, delivering a 17 percent wage increase over 60 months (18.24 percent when compounded), a 78-month cap on health care insurance contributions and improvements in health care benefits, has been ratified by solid margins by UTU members in each of the six crafts eligible to vote.

The new contract also provides certification pay, a faster process for new hires to reach full pay rates, provides for no work-rules givebacks and has no prior cost-of-living adjustment offsets.

Health care plan design changes deliver expanded and improved health care benefits, such as personalized medicine and access to centers of excellence. Personalized medicine assures access to the most up-to-date health care products available, while centers of excellence provide access for members and their families to the most advanced treatment centers in America when serious illness strikes.

Retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010, the ratified contract covers some 38,000 UTU members employed by BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Soo Line, Union Pacific and numerous smaller carriers – all represented in national handling by the rail industry’s National Carriers’ Conference Committee.

Lump-sum payments of the retroactive portion of the wage increases will be paid by the carriers – 2.0 percent covering the period July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011, and an additional 2.5 percent from July 1, 2011. (See table, below, for each of the wage hikes under the ratified contract.)

“The 17 percent wage increase over the life of this agreement is significantly higher than the rate of price inflation – providing a greater boost in purchasing power than any other national contract in the past 40 years,” said UTU International President Mike Futhey, who led the UTU negotiating team.

“The $200 monthly cap on health care insurance contributions, through July 1, 2016, is less than half what federal workers currently are paying, and is more than $140 less than the average currently paid by private-sector workers,” Futhey said. “With health care costs continuing to rise, this cap will be even more extraordinary in each successive year of this contract.”

Overall, the contract was ratified by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin. The craft-autonomy provisions of the UTU Constitution require that each craft ratify the agreement – and each of the six crafts did so by solid margins (see the table, below, for results by each craft).

Telephone voting – following town hall meetings across the country to discuss the contract — took place over a 21-day period beginning Aug. 12, with each voting-eligible member mailed a package of materials explaining the agreement. The UTU News and UTU website also provided extensive explanatory materials, with the website offering an opportunity for members to request answers to specific questions.

Votes were tabulated by BallotPoint Election Services, an employee-owned and union-represented firm. Members voted in the craft in which they worked the day prior to the mailing of ballots.

In addition to UTU lead negotiator President Futhey, UTU officers on the negotiating team included Assistant President Arty Martin; National Legislative Director James Stem; UTU International Vice Presidents Robert Kerley and Delbert Strunk; and General Chairpersons John Lesniewski (CSX, GO 049), Pate King (NS, GO 680) and Doyle Turner (CSX, GO 347).

Agreement Wage Hikes

 
July 1, 2010 2%
July 1, 2011 2.5%
July 1, 2012 3%
July 1, 2013 3%
July 1, 2014 3.5%
Jan. 1, 2015 3%

Compounded Total:

18.24%

 

Ratification Vote by Craft

   

Following is how each UTU craft voted in ratifying the national agreement with most major railroads. The votes were certified by BallotPoint.

   
Craft For Against
Conductors 59% 41%
Yardmen 67% 33%
Brakemen 63% 37%
Engineers 53% 47%
Firemen/Hostlers 59% 41%
Yardmasters 68% 32%
Total: 60% 40%
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National Agreement! - 6/4/2011

Details have been released regarding the new National Agreement.  We will be discussing this at our next regular meeting on the 8th.  I have included the link to download the argreement.

 

http://www.utu.org/worksite/PDFs/UTU_TRM_053111.pdf

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Bidding of Vacations - 6/4/2011

We are having a problem with CMS assigning people vacation vacancies.  If you are not able to hold (work from) the terminal you are bidding a vacation vacancy for, you cannot be awarded that vacation.  If you are awarded a vacation turn, you are subject to being bumped off it by another person with more seniority, provided he/she has bumping rights.  This will be discussed at the meeting on the 8th as well.

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New Tentative National Agreement - 5/2/2011

The UTU and the NCCC have a tenative agreement for the New National Agreement.  I dont have any specifics yet as to what is in the agreement, but once I do find out anything I will let everyone know.  I have included a link to read about it.

 

http://www.utu.org/worksite/detail_news.cfm?ArticleID=54020

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Claims! - 3/8/2011

In order for me to process your claims I need the following information:

1.Timeslip with the original claim

2. Cutslip (this will have a declination number on it.  If you have epayroll or the SAP application it will be in your recap of your trains you took for the half.)

3. Work history print out.

4. Any other documentation that will help justify what you are claiming.  (runaround, no locker, etc...)

Staple all documentation together and leave in the the UTU- t Box on the east wall.

If you dont have all the documentation, we cannot process your claim.  This will delay the process and possibily void your claim due to time limits.

You have 60 days to turn in your claim from when occurs, but do not leave it until the last day.  We cannot process it within the time allowance. 

If you have questions on claims or how the process works, please ask one of us.  We will do everything to process these, provided you get the proper info to us.

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Seniority Retention - 2/24/2011

The U.P. has extended the seniority for those people on the Furlough Board for 1 year, expiring on March 1, 2011.  Also the U.P. is having a hiring session in Council Bluffs on March 2-3-4.  If you live close to there and want to work from there, request a transfer from one of the managers at Boone.  I am not sure of how many will be hired.

 

I have put the Letter of Understanding in the Downloads section if you wish to read it.

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Rail sickness benefits now available online - 11/2/2010

 Rail sickness benefits now available online

 

 Rail workers may now file biweekly claims for railroad sickness benefits directly online with the Railroad Retirement Board.

 

The agency said rail workers may now access this online service at www.rrb.gov by clicking on "Benefit Online Services."

 

The RRB implemented a similar system for unemployment benefits in 2004.

 

First-time users must request a password request code (PRC), which they will receive by regular mail within 10 days. Those who have already established online accounts do not need to do so again.

 

Railroad employees who miss work due to illness or injury will still have to file a paper form that serves as their initial application for sickness benefits. Once the application is received, they will continue to receive paper-based claim forms, generally for specific 2-week periods, by regular mail.

 

However, they now have the option of filing the claims online in order to expedite processing and payment.

 

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IMPORTANT AWTS IMPORTANT - 11/1/2010

If you are furloughed or on the AWTS board you need to call the RRB and apply for unemployment benefits.

You may qualify for benefits even if you are getting a check from the railroad.

You May Qualify For 3 Days Unemployment A Week

It can also help you fulfill the waiting period.

Location Federal Building, Room 921
210 Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50309-2116
Hours 9:00 AM THRU 3:30 PM
Monday through Friday except Federal Holidays
Telephone (515) 284-4344
Fax (515) 284-4616

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Recall Agreement (UPDATED) - 10/14/2010

Recall Agreement

Click on the title

This agreement has passed the effective date is 10/16/10.

Read the agreement and make sure you bid.

 

 

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Emergency Notification Number - 10/11/2010

Train, Engine and Yard Employees  Emergency Notification Number,

1-888-877-7015

To read the whole article click below

https://employees.www.uprr.com/emp/news/uponline/2008/november/11_03_emergency_number.shtml

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OSHA IMPOSES NEW WHISTLEBLOWER SHIELD - 9/1/2010

OSHA IMPOSES NEW WHISTLEBLOWER SHIELD

WASHINGTON – Strong whistleblower protection for transportation and other workers were implemented this week by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The new procedures allow complaints of worker retaliation to be made by telephone and in languages other than English.

 

The purpose is to help protect workers who voice safety, health, and security concerns.

 

“When workers believe their employers are violating certain laws or government regulations, they have the right to file a complaint and should not fear retaliation,” said OSHA.Silenced workers are not safe workers.”

 

OSHA said that “changes in the whistleblower provisions make good on the promise to stand by those workers who have the courage to come forward when they believe their employer is violating the law and cutting corners on a variety of safety, health and security concerns in the affected industries.”

 

The regulations, which cover workers filing complaints in the railroad, public transit, commercial motor carrier, and consumer product industries, also create greater consistency among various OSHA complaint procedures,” said the agency.

 

New fact sheets on these statutes and additional information will be available at www.whistleblowers.gov

 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance,” said OSHA

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AWTS AWRR Alert - 8/18/2010

AWTS AWRR Alert

If you have answered a recall to the AWTS or the AWRR and are in RR or RS status the railroad will not be paying you guarantee. 

You must be in OK status before the railroad will say you are due guarantee.

Make sure a manager puts you in OK status ASAP.

 

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Returning to work? Careful what you sign - 8/11/2010

Returning to work? Careful what you sign

Union Pacific -- and, likely, other railroads -- have been asking furloughed workers to sign an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) affidavit -- Form W-11 -- upon return to duty.
The reason is that the IRS provides the employer with a payroll tax exemption as part of a federal stimulus package to encourage hiring and restore employment to furloughed workers who have not worked for anyone for more than 40 hours during the previous 60-day period.

The IRS form, however, contains a strong warning: You are being asked to sign, under penalty of perjury, that you have not worked for anyone for more than 40 hours during the previous 60-day period.

If this is not the case, signing the form could subject you to criminal charges.
 
June 21, 2010

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Borrow out agreement - 7/29/2010

Borrow out agreement is on the download page under agreements

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Benefit Rate Increase for Railroad Unemployment and Sickness Benefits - 6/29/2010

Benefit Rate Increase for

Railroad Unemployment and Sickness Benefits

 

 

The maximum daily benefit rate payable for claims under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act increases to $66 from $64 in the new benefit year, which begins July 1, 2010. Benefits are normally paid for the number of days of unemployment or sickness over four in 14-day registration periods, so maximum benefits for biweekly claims will total $660.

During the first 14-day claim period in a benefit year, benefits are payable for each day of unemployment or sickness in excess of seven, rather than four, which, in effect, provides a one-week waiting period. Initial sickness claims must also begin with four consecutive days of sickness. However, only one waiting period is required during any period of continuing unemployment or sickness, even if that period continues into a subsequent benefit year. Claimants already on the rolls will, therefore, normally not be required to serve another waiting period because of the onset of the new benefit year.

To qualify for normal railroad unemployment or sickness benefits in the benefit year beginning July 1, 2010, an employee must have had railroad earnings of at least $3,325 in calendar year 2009, not counting more than $1,330 for any month. Those who were first employed in the rail industry in 2009 must also have at least five months of creditable railroad service in 2009.

Under certain conditions, employees who do not qualify in the new benefit year on the basis of their 2009 earnings may still be able to receive benefits after June 30, 2010. Employees who received normal benefits in the benefit year ending June 30, 2010, might still be eligible for extended benefits, and ten-year employees may be eligible for accelerated benefits if they have rail earnings of at least $3,325 in 2010, not counting earnings of more than $1,330 a month.

Application forms for unemployment and sickness benefits may be obtained from railroad employers, railroad labor organizations, any Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) office, or the agency’s web site at www.rrb.gov. Also, as an alternative to applying for unemployment benefits through the mail, unemployment claimants can instead file applications online. Likewise, subsequent biweekly claims for unemployment benefits may be filed online rather than through the mail and employees can also access information about their individual railroad unemployment insurance account statements online. These account statements provide a summary of the unemployment and sickness benefits paid under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act to rail employees.

To access these online services, employees must first establish an RRB Internet Services account. For security purposes, first-time users must apply for a Password Request Code, which they will receive by mail in about 10 business days. To do this, employees should click on “Benefit Online Services” and select “request a PRC.” Once employees establish their online accounts, they will be able to file their applications and biweekly claims for unemployment benefits as well as conduct other business with the RRB over the Internet. Employees are encouraged to initiate an online account while still employed so the account is established if they ever need to use these or other select RRB Internet services. Employees who have already established online accounts do not need to do so again. Although claimants cannot currently file applications or biweekly claims for railroad sickness benefits over the Internet, the RRB is planning to add the online filing of sickness claims in the future.

Claimants with questions about unemployment or sickness benefits should contact an RRB office by calling toll free at 1-877-772-5772. Claimants can also find the address of the RRB office servicing their area and get information about their claims and benefit payments by calling this toll-free number. Most RRB offices are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays. Field office locations can also be found by visiting www.rrb.gov.

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RRB sickness, jobless benefits update - 6/17/2010

RRB sickness, jobless benefits update


A new benefit year for jobless and sickness benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act begins July 1, 2010, the Railroad Retirement Board reports.
Administered by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), this law provides two kinds of benefits for qualified railroaders: unemployment benefits for those who become unemployed but are ready, willing and able to work; and sickness benefits for those who are unable to work because of sickness or injury. Sickness benefits are also payable to female rail workers for periods of time when they are unable to work because of pregnancy and childbirth.

The following questions and answers describe these benefits, their eligibility requirements, and how to claim them.

1. What is the daily benefit rate payable in the new benefit year beginning July 1, 2010?

Almost all employees will qualify for the new maximum daily benefit rate of $66, which increased from $64 under indexing provisions reflecting the growth in average national wages. Benefits are generally payable for days of unemployment or sickness in excess of four in biweekly claim periods, which yields $660 for each two full weeks of unemployment or sickness. However, sickness benefits resulting from other than on-the-job injuries are subject to tier I Railroad Retirement payroll taxes for the first six months after the employee last worked.

2. What are the eligibility requirements for railroad unemployment and sickness benefits in the new benefit year?

To qualify for normal railroad unemployment or sickness benefits, an employee must have had railroad earnings of at least $3,325 in calendar year 2009, counting no more than $1,330 for any month. Those who were first employed in the rail industry in 2009 must also have at least five months of creditable railroad service in 2009.

Under certain conditions, employees with 120 or more months of railroad service who do not qualify on the basis of their 2009 earnings may still be able to receive benefits in the new benefit year. Employees with 120 or more months of service who received normal benefits in the benefit year ending June 30, 2010, may be eligible for extended benefits, and employees with 120 or more months of service might qualify for accelerated benefits if they have rail earnings of at least $3,325 in 2010, not counting earnings of more than $1,330 a month.

In order to qualify for extended unemployment benefits, a claimant must not have voluntarily quit work without good cause and not have voluntarily retired. To qualify for extended sickness benefits, a claimant must not have voluntarily retired and must be under age 65.

To be eligible for accelerated benefits, a claimant must have 14 or more consecutive days of either unemployment or sickness; not have voluntarily retired or, if claiming unemployment benefits, quit work without good cause; and be under age 65 when claiming sickness benefits.

3. How long are these benefits payable?

Normal unemployment or sickness benefits are each payable for up to 130 days (26 weeks) in a benefit year. The total amount of each kind of benefit which may be paid in the new benefit year cannot exceed the employee’s railroad earnings in calendar year 2009, counting earnings up to $1,718 per month.

If normal benefits are exhausted, extended benefits are payable for up to 65 days (during 7 consecutive registration periods) to employees with 10 or more years of service.

4. What is the waiting-period requirement for unemployment and sickness benefits?

Benefits are normally paid for the number of days of unemployment or sickness over four in 14-day claim periods. Initial sickness claims must also begin with four consecutive days of sickness. However, during the first 14-day claim period in a benefit year, benefits are only payable for each day of unemployment or sickness in excess of seven which, in effect, provides a one-week waiting period. (If an employee has at least five days of unemployment or five days of sickness in a 14-day period, he or she should still file for benefits.) Separate waiting periods are required for unemployment and sickness benefits. However, only one seven-day waiting period is generally required during any period of continuing unemployment or sickness, even if that period continues into a subsequent benefit year.

5. Are there special waiting-period requirements if unemployment is due to a strike?

If a worker is unemployed because of a strike conducted in accordance with the Railway Labor Act, benefits are payable for days of unemployment during 14-day claim periods after the first claim period, but no benefits are payable for days of unemployment during the first 14 days of the strike.

If a strike is in violation of the Railway Labor Act, unemployment benefits are not payable to employees participating in the strike. However, employees not among those participating in such an illegal strike, but who are unemployed on account of the strike, may receive benefits after the first two weeks of the strike.

While a benefit year waiting period cannot count toward a strike waiting period, the 14-day strike waiting period may count as the benefit year waiting period if a worker subsequently becomes unemployed for reasons other than a strike later in the benefit year.

6. Can employees in train and engine service receive unemployment benefits for days when they are standing by or laying over between scheduled runs?

No, not if they are standing by or laying over between regularly assigned trips or they missed a turn in pool service.

7. Can extra-board employees receive unemployment benefits between jobs?

Yes, but only if the miles and/or hours they actually worked were less than the equivalent of normal full-time work in their class of service during the 14-day claim period. Entitlement to benefits would also depend on the employee’s earnings.

8. How would an employee’s earnings in a claim period affect his or her eligibility for unemployment benefits?

If a claimant’s earnings for days worked, and/or days of vacation or paid leave, in a 14-day claim period are more than a certain indexed amount, no benefits are payable for any days of unemployment in that period. That claim, however, can be used to satisfy the waiting period.

Earnings include pay from railroad and nonrailroad work, as well as part-time work and self-employment. Earnings also include pay that an employee would have earned except for a failure to mark up or report for duty on time, or because he or she missed a turn in pool service or was otherwise not ready or willing to work. For the benefit year that begins July 2010 the indexed amount is $1,330, which corresponds to the base year monthly compensation amount used in determining eligibility for benefits in the new benefit year. Also, even if an earnings test applies on the first claim in a benefit year, this will not prevent the first claim from satisfying the waiting period in a benefit year.

9. How does a person apply for, as well as claim, unemployment benefits?

Claimants can file their applications for unemployment benefits, as well as their subsequent biweekly claims, by mail or online.

To apply by mail, claimants must obtain an application from their labor organization, employer, local RRB office or the agency’s web site at www.rrb.gov. The completed application should be mailed to the local RRB office as soon as possible and, in any case, must be filed within 30 days of the date on which the claimant became unemployed or the first day for which he or she wishes to claim benefits. Benefits may be lost if the application is filed late.

To file their applications -- or their biweekly claims -- online, claimants must first establish an RRB Internet Services account. For security purposes, first time users must apply for a Password Request Code, which they will receive by mail in about 10 business days. To do this, they should click on “Benefit Online Services” and select “request a PRC.” Once they establish their online accounts, they will be able to file their applications and biweekly claims for unemployment benefits as well as conduct other business with the RRB over the Internet. Employees are encouraged to establish online accounts while still employed so the account is ready if they ever need to apply for these benefits or use other select RRB Internet services. Employees who have already established online accounts do not need to do so again.

The local RRB office reviews the completed application, whether it was submitted by mail or online, and notifies the claimant’s current railroad employer, and base-year employer if different. The employer has the opportunity to provide information about the benefit application.

After the RRB office processes the application, biweekly claim forms are mailed to the claimant, and are also made available on the RRB’s web site, as long as he or she remains unemployed and eligible for benefits. The time for filing a claim is 15 days from the last day of the claim period or 15 days from the date the claim form is mailed to the claimant or made available online, whichever is later. Claimants should not file both a paper claim and an online claim for the same period.

Only one application needs to be filed during a benefit year, even if a claimant becomes unemployed more than once. However, a claimant must, in such a case, request a claim form from an RRB field office within 30 days of the first day for which he or she wants to resume claiming benefits. These claims may also be filed by mail or online.

10. How does a person apply for sickness benefits?

An application for sickness benefits can be obtained from railroad labor organizations, railroad employers, any RRB office or the agency’s web site. An application and a doctor’s statement of sickness are required at the beginning of each period of continuing sickness for which benefits are claimed. Claimants should make a special effort to have the doctor’s statement of sickness completed promptly since no claims can be paid without it.

The RRB suggests that employees keep an application on hand for use in claiming sickness benefits, and that family members know where the form is kept and how to use it. If an employee becomes unable to work because of sickness or injury, the employee should complete the application and then have his or her doctor complete the statement of sickness. (Employees should note that they must indicate on the application whether they are applying for sickness benefits because they were injured at work or have a work-related illness. They must also indicate whether they have filed or expect to file a lawsuit or claim against a third-party for personal injury. If a claimant receives sickness benefits for an injury or illness for which he or she is paid damages, it is important to be aware that the RRB is entitled to reimbursement of either the amount of the benefits paid for the injury or illness, or the net amount of the settlement, after deducting the claimant’s gross medical, hospital, and legal expenses, whichever is less.)

If the employee is too sick to complete the application, someone else may do so. In such cases, a family member should also complete the “Statement of Authority to Act for Employee,” which accompanies the statement of sickness.

After completion, the forms should be mailed to the RRB’s headquarters in Chicago by the seventh day of the illness or injury for which benefits are claimed. However, applications received after 10 days but within 30 days of the first day for which an employee wishes to claim benefits are generally considered timely filed if there is a good reason for the delay. After the RRB receives the application and statement of sickness and determines eligibility, biweekly claim forms are mailed to the claimant for completion and return to an RRB field office for processing. The claim forms must be received at the RRB within 30 days of the last day of the claim period, or within 30 days of the date the claim form was mailed to the claimant, whichever is later. Benefits may be lost if an application or claim is filed late.

Although claimants cannot currently file applications or biweekly claims for railroad sickness benefits over the Internet, the RRB is planning to add the online filing of sickness claims in the future.

11. Is a claimant’s employer notified each time a biweekly claim for unemployment or sickness benefits is filed?

The Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act requires the RRB to notify the claimant’s base-year employer each time a claim for benefits is filed, and to give that employer an opportunity to submit information relevant to the claim before the RRB makes an initial determination on the claim. In addition, the claimant’s current employer is also notified. The RRB must also notify the claimant’s base-year employer each time benefits are paid to a claimant. The base-year employer may protest the decision to pay benefits. Such a protest does not prevent the timely payment of benefits. However, a claimant may be required to repay benefits if the employer’s protest is successful.

The RRB also checks with other Federal agencies and all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, to detect fraudulent benefit claims and it checks with physicians to verify the accuracy of medical statements supporting sickness benefit claims.

12. How long does it take to receive payment?

Under the RRB’s Customer Service Plan, if a claimant files an application for unemployment or sickness benefits, a decision will be made within 10 days of the date the application was filed. If a claim for subsequent biweekly unemployment or sickness benefits is filed, a decision will be made within 10 days of the date the RRB received the claim form. If the claimant is entitled to benefits, benefits will generally be paid within one week of that decision.

However, some claims for benefits may take longer to handle than others if they are more complex, or if an RRB office has to get information from other people or organizations. If this happens, claimants may expect an explanation and an estimate of the time required to make a decision.

Claimants who think an RRB office made the wrong decision about their benefits have the right to ask for review and to appeal. They will be notified of these rights each time an unfavorable decision is made on their claims.

13. How are payments made?

Railroad unemployment and sickness insurance benefits are paid by Direct Deposit. With Direct Deposit, benefit payments are made electronically to an employee’s bank, savings and loan, credit union or other financial institution. New applicants for unemployment and sickness benefits will be asked to provide information needed for Direct Deposit enrollment. Waivers are available to individuals who determine that Direct Deposit would cause a hardship, and to individuals without bank accounts.

14. Can claimants access information online about their railroad unemployment and sickness benefit payments?

Claimants can access information about their individual railroad unemployment insurance account statements via the Internet. These account statements provide a summary of the unemployment and sickness benefits paid under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act to rail employees. This online service, called “RUIA Account Statement,” displays the type and amount of a claimant’s last five benefit payments, the claim period for which the payments were made, and the dates that the payments were approved. Claimants can also confirm the RRB’s receipt of their latest application or claim for unemployment or sickness benefits, along with the receipt of any supplemental doctor’s statement required to continue the payment of sickness benefits. In addition, the service allows claimants to view the address currently on record for them and, if applicable, their Direct Deposit information.

To use this service, claimants must establish an Internet Services account, as described in the answer to question 9.

15. How can claimants receive more information on railroad unemployment or sickness benefits?

Claimants with questions about unemployment or sickness benefits should contact an RRB office by calling toll free at (877) 772-5772. Claimants can also find the address of the RRB office serving their area and get information about their claims and benefit payments by calling this toll-free number. Most RRB offices are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays. Field office locations can also be found by visiting www.rrb.gov.
 
June 17, 2010

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Info from RRB on BA-6 service month report - 5/27/2010
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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHEN INJURED - 5/5/2010

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHEN INJURED

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Railroad Administration has issued an interpretation of its regulations on employee harassment and intimidation of injured employees -- welcome pointers to help rail workers, injured on the job, know their rights.

The interpretation focuses on situations where a carrier supervisor or other rail official accompanies an injured employee into an examination room. Specifically, the FRA has defined what actions by a carrier official constitutes harassment or intimidation calculated to discourage or prevent the reporting of an accident, incident, injury or illness.

Said the FRA:

"49 CFR Pat 225 [of its safety regulations require] each railroad to adopt and comply with a written Internal Control Plan addressing the railroad’s policies and procedures regarding accident/incident reporting.

"[The regulation] further requires that such Internal Control Plans include, at a minimum, a policy statement declaring the railroad’s commitment ... to the principle, in absolute terms, that harassment or intimidation of any person that is calculated to discourage or prevent such person from receiving proper medical treatment or from reporting such accident, incident, injury or illness will not be permitted or tolerated.

"[M]any railroad employees fail to disclose their injuries to the railroad or fail to accept reportable treatment from a physician because they wish to avoid potential harassment from management or possible discipline that is sometimes associated with the reporting of such injuries.

"[S]upervisory personnel and mid level managers in some instances are urged to engage in practices which may undermine or circumvent the reporting of injuries and illnesses.

"FRA is aware of incidents in which a supervisor or other railroad official has accompanied an injured employee into an examination room, or other room in which the injured employee received medical treatment.

"Although concerns have been expressed as to the need for a railroad to determine the extent of an employee’s injuries, FRA does not believe that such concerns outweigh the potential pitfalls and problems associated with the practice of having supervisors accompany injured employees while they receive care from their physicians.

"Moreover, physicians are in the best position to evaluate the health of injured employees and the presence of a supervisor during such examinations would not, in most cases, add any value to the treatment of an employee and would, in general, be a distraction to both the employee and the physician."

Thus, said the FRA in its interpretation of its regulations:

"Harassment and intimidation occur in violation of Section 225.33(a)(1) when a railroad supervisor accompanies an injured employee into an examination room, unless one or more [exceptions occur]."

The exceptions, said FRA, occur in "limited circumstances in which it is appropriate, and indeed preferable, for a supervisor to accompany an injured employee into an examination room ... Consequently, FRA recognizes the following limited exceptions:

1) "The injured employee issues a voluntary invitation to the supervisor to accompany him or her in the examination room. The injured employee must issue this invitation freely, without coercion, duress, or intimidation. For example, an injured employee may see the attendance of a supervisor where the supervisor is a friend. This exception does not encompass invitations issued by third parties, including physicians, unless the invitations are made pursuant to the request of the injured employee."

2) "The injured employee is unconscious or otherwise unable to effectively communicate material information to the physician and the supervisor’s input is needed to provide such material information to the physician. In these circumstances, the supervisor is assisting the injured employee in providing information to the physician to that the injured employee may receive appropriate and responsive medical treatment."

Also, be reminded that the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 provided for the following:

* If the employee is injured on the job, the employer must provide the injured employee with transportation to the nearest hospital.

* The injured employee may not demand to be taken to a more distant hospital, but the destination must be the nearest hospital and not an emergency center.

* The employer is not required to transport the injured employee via an ambulance. They may be transported via a company vehicle.

* A railroad is prohibited from disciplining, or threatening to discipline, an employee seeking medical treatment, or for following orders or a treatment plan of a treating physician.

* Employees may bring an action against the railroad, under whistleblower provisions, for any violation; and, in addition to recovering back pay and reinstatement, they may recover, separate from a FELA action, compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and punitive damages up to $250,000.

* Only the injured employee’s physician can certify when the injured employee is fit to return to work, but the railroad can then order an examination by its own physician to determine if the employee is fit, under railroad policies, to return to work, or should be kept off duty for a longer period.

* If you are involved in a critical incident, such as a highway-rail grade-crossing accident or a train striking another employee or pedestrian, you may demand to be relieved from duty for the purpose of receiving counseling. In addition, you may receive immediate relief of service for the balance of the duty tour.

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The Dirtiest Test I've Heard of: - 3/10/2010

Just in from the General Chairman:

Greg Hynes
Director, UTU AZ State Legislative Board

 Subject: FW: FAKE FORM B TESTING.... read the whole EMAIL!
 
  Brothers and Sisters,

 I am sure that you have all heard about, if not experienced, the "Fake"  Form  B test that the company has been conducting. The form B is in your Track Bulletins and has a fictitious Foreman and gang number. When you call the foreman in charge you are really calling an MOP posing as the foreman. He may give you the wrong milepost locations or the wrong bulletin number or the wrong engine number or no speed etc. so be alert! Remember, you   cannot enter a form B without being given a speed...period!
 
  NOW FOR NEW TWIST THEY ARE USING TO TRICK YOU!
 
  THEY HAVE BEEN PLACING AN UNANNOUNCED YELLOW RED BOARD IN ADVANCE OF THE ONE IN YOUR ORDERS AND A RED FLAG 2 MILES FROM THAT UNANNOUNCED FLAG.
 
   NOW PAY ATTENTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
   THEY ARE CALLING YOU ON THE RADIO JUST BEFORE YOU REACH THEIR UNANNOUNCED YELLOW RED BOARD AND WILL CLEAR YOU THROUGH THE LIMITS OF THE FICTITIOUS FORM B IN YOUR WARRANTS ! THIS IS TO DISTRACT YOUR ATTENTION FROM THE UNANNOUNCED YELLOW RED BOARD AND KEEP YOU OCCUPIED WRITING AUTHORITY WHILE YOU APPROACH THE RED FLAG!
 
   We have a crew out of service right now for this test and I can tell you  first hand that they almost got me on the very same test two weeks ago. I am going to discuss this test with the superintendent as I feel it is a test designed not for testing your proficiency on the rules but rather a test designed to entrap crews with deceitful tactics.
 
  If a foreman calls you on the radio to give you clearance BEWARE! Check your milepost location and be sure you know exactly where you are in relation to the form B in you warrants. Stop the train if necessary and have a job briefing.
 
 
  Be careful out there!
 
 Sounds like they trained on the TCSU

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COBRA subsidy extended through March 31 - 3/6/2010

COBRA subsidy extended through March 31

Congress has extended through March 31 the eligibility period for the so-called COBRA subsidy program, and also liberalized eligibility standards.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act [COBRA] gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events.

Qualified individuals may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102 percent of the cost to the plan.

COBRA generally requires that group health plans sponsored by employers with 20 or more employees in the prior year offer employees and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage [called continuation coverage] in certain instances where coverage under the plan would otherwise end.

One of the provisions in new legislation just passed by Congress is an amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which extends the eligibility period for a 65 percent COBRA subsidy program from Feb. 28 to March 31.

In addition to extending the eligibility period, the new legislation expands the definition of individuals eligible for the subsidy.

If an employee had/has a COBRA qualifying event that is a reduction in hours anytime between Sept. 1, 2008, and March 31, 2010, and as a result they were/are no longer eligible for their health insurance benefits, but they either did not elect COBRA at that time, or COBRA was elected and subsequently dropped, and the employee experiences an involuntary termination of employment on or after March 2, 2010, the individual must be given a second opportunity to enroll in COBRA.

These individuals would be eligible to elect COBRA at the subsidized rate.

Also, persons who are currently on COBRA as a result of having had a qualifying event that was a reduction in hours between Sept. 1, 2008, and March 2, 2010, and are involuntarily terminated on or after March 2, 2010, will also be eligible for the subsidy.

In either case, the COBRA eligibility period (18, 29 or 36 months) will be considered as having started on the date of the initial reduction in hours.

UnitedHealthcare will assure that the plans comply with these new requirements.

Under ARRA, if an individual is an "Assistance Eligible Individual" (AEI), they may be eligible to temporarily reduce the amount of the premium payment required to purchase COBRA continuation coverage under their medical, dental and/or vision plan(s).

In order to be an AEI, the employee must experience an Involuntary Termination of employment (dismissal, suspension or furlough) on or after Feb. 17, 2009, and before April 1, 2010. The other requirements that must be met to be an AEI still remain in place (i.e., they must not be eligible for any other group medical/dental/vision coverage or Medicare; must not have earnings for the taxable year in excess of $145,000 [$290,000 for joint filers]).

If a person qualifies for the reduced COBRA premium rate, they would be responsible for payment of only 35 percent of the current COBRA monthly premium for a period of between twelve (12) and fifteen (15) months.

For more information on the COBRA subsidy extension, contact UnitedHealthcare at (800) 842-5252.

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Important - 1/21/2010

Important!!!!!

Remember, no matter if you are furloughed or working it is your obligation to keep the Carrier and Union supplied with current phone numbers and address.

If you don’t you could miss out on a recall.  This HAS happened recently.

To update your info with the Carrier log onto CMTS via the web and update your personal info there.  While doing that don’t forget to grant payroll access to your Local Chairman, it’s on your personal info screen.

To update your info with the Union please email the info to Brain Leslie at local0329leslie@gmail.com 

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Article XII (Seniority termination) Extension - 1/14/2010

As I requested the General Chairman has been able to get an extension to suspend the application of Article XII (Seniority termination) and also make it retroactive.

Click on the link below or go to the DOWNLOAD secction to read the agreement.

Article XII suspension

 

 

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AWTS, Reedy Letter (Days to Protect) - 2/16/2009

AWTS, Reedy Letter (Days to Protect)

Due to the confusion over what days of the month people on the AWTS are suppose to protect and how they are suppose to be notified I asked General Chairman Reedy to come to an understanding with the Union Pacific as to a procedure to use. 

Go to the DOWNLOAD page to read a copy of the letter.

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AWTS Health Benefits Problems (updated) - 2/6/2009

Xing gateAWTS Health Benefits Problems (updated)

A Member on the AWTS board recently called saying UnitedHealthCare informed him that the Railroad is reporting that he is not covered because he does not work for the UP anymore. 

If you are on the AWTS board I would suggest calling UHC and finding out if you are in a same reporting predicament.  If you are get the name of the person you talked to and report the facts to me. 

Call UHC at 1-866-267-3320, even if you have Blue Cross.  Call or email me so I can compile a list and to see if there is a problem.  I can get it taken care if you report it to me.

It’s easier to clear up a mess like this before you run into problems with the doctors and hospitals.

I will need these questions answered. 

1.  Who did you talk to and when?
 
2.  What month or months were being told you were not covered with medical benefits?
 
3.  Did you actually work off the AWTS that month(s)?
 
4.  Did you qualify and get guarantee that month(s) and the previous month?
 
5.  Did the railroad take out money for health and welfare that month(s) and the previous month?

 

 

Jon Emery, lc329@usa.net

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AWTS Modification and Side Letters Now Signed & Posted - 1/31/2009

AWTS Modification and Side Letters Now Signed And Posted On The DOWNLOAD Page Under Agreements

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Article XII of the 1985 Agreement, Termination of Seniority - 1/18/2009

Check the bulletin board at work for a vote I will have to make on Article XII of the 1985 Agreement.

Termination of Seniority

Or click on this link: Suspension of Article XII of the 1985 Agreement

 

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