May 26, 2023

BNSF reaches sick leave agreement with train conductors union


Western U.S. railroad BNSF has reached a tentative sick leave agreement with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD).

The agreement covers those working for the former GN Road, SP&S, C&S, HBT, JTD, LAJ, ATSF N/S and ATSF Coastlines. Ten out of 12 labor unions with BNSF have sick leave agreements, with discussions ongoing about modernizing the work environment, the railroad  said. 

The agreement calls for four additional paid days off to use as sick leave and the opportunity to convert up to three personal leave days as sick days. The sick days will not accumulate points under BNSF’s attendance program, according to the railroad.

“We are pleased that our union partners have taken this important step forward to help BNSF modernize its agreements to the benefit of its employees and their members,” BNSF (NYSE: BRN.B) said in a statement. “BNSF remains committed to continued dialogue including the potential addition of paid sick days for those crafts that did not already have individual paid sick days prior to the recent national bargaining round.​​”

Last month, fellow Class I railroad Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) said it reached an agreement with train conductors represented by SMART-TD that covered sick leave and scheduling. And just this week, Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) announced a scheduling agreement with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

Predictable schedules and sick leave have been key issues for both train conductors and locomotive engineers during the most recent round of collective bargaining between the unions and the Class I railroads. That round was marked by negotiation impasses, as well as the specter of a potential rail strike before Congress intervened last December. 

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