July 11, 2023

Union Pacific and SMART-TD hash out sick leave deal


Union Pacific has reached a sick leave agreement with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD), the union group that represents train conductors.

The tentative agreement, which would affect around 5,900 employees, provides up to eight paid sick leave days, UP (NYSE: UNP) said Sunday. The agreement consists of five additional paid sick days annually that would be prorated for 2023, and then the potential to convert up to three paid leave days as paid sick time in 2023, UP said.

If SMART-TD members ratify this contract, UP will have sick leave agreements for all 13 of its labor unions. UP would be the second U.S.-based Class I railroad to do so, following Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC).

“I want to thank SMART-TD leadership for their support as we work together to create an environment where employees feel valued, supported and empowered to deliver exceptional service to our customers,” UP President and CEO Lance Fritz said in a release. “We are committed to continued collaboration with our labor partners and employees to further identify opportunities that support our best-in-class workforce.”

SMART-TD members have already ratified two sick leave agreements, one with NS and the other involving some members working for CSX (NASDAQ: CSX).  Some union members also received additional sick leave with BNSF (NYSE: BRK-B). 

Meanwhile, discussions on scheduled rest between UP and SMART-TD are ongoing, UP said Sunday. UP described scheduled rest as allowing employees to have more predictable schedules while enabling the railroad to better manage staffing levels. In May, UP reached a deal on scheduling with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, another union whose members tend to have schedules in flux.

In response to the deal with UP, SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson said in a Monday release: “Our members made it very clear in 2022 that quality-of-life issues and the ability to provide stability for their families in times of medical crisis was of the utmost importance. On-demand sick days that do not amount to discipline from their employer are a historic step in the right direction for these men and women, and I am very proud of the effort that our General Chairmen on the UP properties put in to make this happen.”

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