INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, November 17 — The following is a statement from Union Pacific-Western Region General Chairman Steven A. Leyshon encouraging his members to vote in favor of the Tentative National Agreement.
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I want to show my support in favor of the tentative agreement and encourage a “yes” vote.
There has been a lot of positive feedback to this office and I appreciate the phone calls and emails I received. As you know, the tentative agreement allows for a compounded 13.14% in general wage increases, which includes the 3% raise that we all received on January 1, 2015. Some of my members have asked why that raise is being included in this contract.
Although that raise was negotiated in the last National Agreement to carry us over during negotiations, it was implemented during the period covered by the tentative agreement now out for ratification, and for that reason becomes part of this contract settlement. In fact, Side Letter No. 3 of the last National Agreement specifically says that for this round of bargaining the GWI “was intended to constitute a complete resolution of the compensation adjustment issue for calendar year 2015.”
I think we need to look further than just the money when it comes to the challenges we face if we allow someone to dictate what the terms of our agreement will be. All politics aside, I would not want an appointed Presidential Emergency Board, or Congress, to write an agreement for me. They really have no idea what we face as employees.
Healthcare will continue to be a topic of discussion in future talks which is why the frozen rate of $228.89 for our contribution is a huge benefit for us. Coupled with the increased contributions into the flexible spending account, this will help defray some of the other associated costs going forward.
The biggest benefit, in my view, is that there are no work rule changes in the proposed agreement.
I want to thank President Pierce and the Coordinated Bargaining Group for staying vigilant and focused while dealing with the Carriers. I know from experience that it is one of the toughest endeavors that a union representative can take on.
Steven A. Leyshon
BLET General Chairman
Union Pacific-Western Region GCA
Friday, November 17, 2017