CSX agrees to Sick Leave for BMWED, BRC, IAM, NCFO Unions

I saw the announcement up at Infidel753 Blog in his Link Roundup for February 12th. I am using Railway Age for the news of the settlement between CSX and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC) on February 7. On February 10, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), and the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers (NCFO) also reached agreement with CSX.

The expectation being the eight remaining unions will eventually accept the agreement.

CSX: Paid Sick Leave for BMWED, BRC, IAM, NCFO (UPDATED Feb. 13), Railway Age, William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief.

The BMWED and BRC collectively represent approximately 5,000 CSX railroad workers (nearly 4,000 BMWED and more than 1,000 BRC). Also reaching agreement was the IAM‘s District 19 representing approximately 500 railroad machinists and the NCFO represents approximately 500 utility workers. CSX said.

“The company has great respect for the work performed by its front-line employees to provide safe, reliable rail service for the nation, and will continue to pursue similar agreements with its remaining unions.

At this time, the agreement is specific to CSX. The agreement is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2023 and continues each year thereafter. Every member-employee of the four unions signing the agreement will be provided with 4 paid sick days on an annual basis, based on a 100% rate of pay. They will also have the ability to take up to 3 paid personal leave days per year for paid sick time off. The agreement is separate from the national agreement from late last year. It also provides the option for employees to contribute unused paid sick leave to their 401(k) or receive a payout of unused paid sick leave, each year.

AB: The last point sounds like (to me) an incentive not to take time off.

The agreements were brokered between CSX President and CEO Joe Hinrichs, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jamie Boychuck, and the railroad’s Labor Relations team led by Jeff Wall, Vice President. CEO Joe Hinrichs . . .

“CSX is committed to listening to our railroaders and working with their representatives to find solutions that improve their quality of life and experience as employees. These agreements demonstrate that commitment, and are a direct result of the collaborative relationship we are working to cultivate with all of the unions that represent CSX employees. We greatly appreciate the leadership of the BMWED and BRC in working toward these agreements.”

BMWED Union Leader President Tony D. Cardwell had this to say about the agreement.

“The paid personal leave comes voluntarily from CSX, without the demand of any concessions from the union. I want to personally thank Joe Hinrichs and Jamie Boychuk. Joe gave me his word that he would bring about changes to the industry that are necessary to begin repairing the dysfunctional relationship between the railroads and the workers. I applaud Joe for delivering on his word and entering into this historic agreement with BMWED. He is doing the right thing, and I look forward to working with Joe on other matters that are critical to maintenance-of-way employees . . .

There is no reason why the other Class I railroads cannot enter into an identical paid sick leave agreement with BMWED, or any other rail union for that matter . . . I strongly encourage the other Class I railroads to follow the tracks that CSX CEO Joe Hinrichs has laid.”

The groundbreaking agreement’s backstory started soon after national agreements were finalized in December. Boychuck on Feb. 8 told Railway Age that he, Hinrichs and Wall, during national negotiations in Washington D.C., “felt strongly that CSX’s labor groups really wanted a local-level discussion, which isn’t easy to do under those circumstances.

AB: It sounds like both sides knew there was more to be done to avoid future disputes between the railroad and the multiple unions. Typically, these are not easy negotiations. Both CEO Hinrichs and COO Boychuck spend time in the field, meeting with employees at all levels, soliciting them about what they need, and asking them for their advice. Not a bad idea. It is always good to make contact again even if you came up through the ranks and know.