BRIGHTLINE WEST INKS COMMITMENT WITH
HIGH-SPEED RAIL LABOR COALITION

The Agreement Demonstrates Support of Union Labor to Operate and Maintain Brightline West’s Future System

LAS VEGAS (Feb 21, 2023) — Brightline West, America’s first true high-speed rail system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California, today, announced a landmark agreement, establishing a commitment with several craft rail unions for the use of highly skilled union labor in critical jobs required to operate and maintain this historic project. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition (Coalition) is comprised of 13 rail unions representing more than 160,000 freight, regional, commuter, and passenger railroad workers in the United States.


The MOU demonstrates the support of union labor in the development of the Brightline West system, and Brightline West’s commitment to providing the safest possible rail operations and high-quality working conditions for its employees.


“The High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition is proud to be in partnership with Brightline West in this historic project. Americans want high-speed rail, and Brightline West and the High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition will deliver. Brightline West will be the most elegant travel by rail experience you can have in America, and it will be the catalyst for America’s renaissance of travel by high-speed rail. The High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition is ready to bring this transformative transportation project to Americans. Let’s get to work.” shared the High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition in a statement.


Brightline West is a 218-mile system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California within the Interstate 15 right-of-way with train capable of speeds of 200 miles per hour. The $10 billion investment has widespread economic benefits, including the creation of nearly 35,000 jobs during construction and more than $10 billion in economic impact. The fully electric, emission-free system will be one of the greenest forms of transportation in the U.S., removing 3 million cars and 400,000 tons of CO2 each year.


“Our nation’s first high-speed rail system will be operated and maintained by union labor, a statement of the strength of the American workforce,” said Mike Reininger, CEO of Brightline Holdings. “As the most shovel-ready high-speed rail project in the United States, we are one step closer to leveling the playing field against transit and infrastructure projects around the world, and we are proud to be using America’s most skilled workers to get there.”


Brightline West includes stations near the iconic Las Vegas Strip and in Rancho Cucamonga, Apple Valley, and Hesperia, California. The system is expected to create over 1,000 permanent jobs once operational.
“As the nation’s largest transportation labor union federation, we are proud to support monumental projects like Brightline West, which will deliver a modern, efficient, and green transit system while putting skilled union members to work,” said Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.


The High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition members include the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Mechanical and Engineering Department, National Conference of Firemen and Oilers 32BJ/SEIU, Transportation Communications Union, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Transport Workers Union of America, American Train Dispatchers Association, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Department, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.


–END–


ABOUT BRIGHTLINE


Brightline is the only private provider of modern, eco-friendly, intercity passenger rail service in America. The company currently serves Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach in Florida, with its Orlando station beginning service in 2023. Recognized by Fast Company as one of the Most Innovative Companies in travel, Brightline offers a guest-first experience designed to reinvent train travel and take cars off the road by connecting city pairs and congested corridors that are too close to fly and too long to drive. Brightline West will build on this award-winning service by connecting Las Vegas and Southern California, with stations in Las Vegas, Victor Valley, Hesperia, and Rancho Cucamonga, and connectivity to Metrolink’s regional rail network.


MEDIA CONTACTS:


Brightline
Ben Porritt
SVP, Corporate Affairs
703.981.2712
[email protected]


NCFO Press Release

Falls Church, VA

An agreement between The National Conference of Firemen & Oilers and Union Pacific Railroad providing paid time off for illness and wellness was reached.

Effective April 1, 2023, the number of hours of paid days for sick time off accrued for each NCFO Member shall be prorated to 24 hours in 2023. In 2024 each NCFO Member will accrue 32 hours of paid sick time. Each NCFO Member shall be permitted to use paid sick time in a minimum of half (1/2) day or one (1) day increments.

NCFO President Dean Devita stated that “I applaud Union Pacific for coming to the bargaining table and adjusting this wrong and making it right. UP Maquiling Parkerson and Terrill L. Maxwell bargained in good faith with the NCFO, and we appreciate their professionalism during the negotiations.”

Devita continued, “NCFO Assistant Director of Railroads Travis Prothro headed up the bargaining and was the driving force for completion of the agreement. Prothro had Director of Railroads Mike Pistone providing his expertise to finalize this agreement.

It is time for all the railroads to stop avoiding this issue and follow the lead of Union Pacific and join the NCFO at the bargaining table to do what is right for their employees and the NCFO Members. If they continue to refuse, we will take this fight back to Congress and expose any railroad that won’t enter into a sick leave agreement, it makes more sense reaching agreement across the bargaining table, but if not, we will do what we have to do,” said President Devita.


The NCFO is an affiliate of 32BJ SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, which has 2.1 million members dedicated to raising industry standards, making life better for working families and our communities, and building a fair economy.

NCFO Press Release

Washington, DC

Statement regarding the Senate vote on Res 119

The House of Representatives passed House Concurrent Resolution 119, which was approved by a vote of 221 in favor, 207 opposed. Resolution 119 provides seven days of paid sick leave for all railroad workers employed at Class I railroads.
The Resolution was sent to the Senate for a vote, which failed to pass. It is disgraceful that 43 elected leaders voted against the American Railroad Worker as 1 Democrat and 42 Republican Senators who all receive sick leave benefits VOTED NO!

The NCFO applauds the six Republican Members of Senate and 46 Democrats Members of the Senate who voted in favor of Resolution 119. The 42 Republican Members and the 1 Democrat of the Senate who voted NO should be ashamed of their vote. While they enjoy a lucrative sick leave benefit, these same folks denied the American NCFO Member seven (7) sick days.

NCFO President Dean Devita made the following statement:

Today the greed of Wall Street controlling the Railroad Industry and Wall Street and the control of 42 Republican Senators and 1 Democrat, continues to place the American Railroad Worker in serious Harm financially and risk their own health. The Railroads have a major issue, and the solution is that American Railroad Workers should not have to come to work while they are sick. The Republican Senate voted Yes to the Trump Tax Cuts that make a fortune for the Railroads, remember this when it is time for the American Railroad Worker to vote concerning the election of these 43 Senators and 207 House Representatives. This subject in now a major talking point, we already are working on how to make this wrong a right, we will fight the greed in the Streets, on the railroad tracks and the Halls of Congress, we will continue this fight.

NCFO President Dean Devita

52 Senators who voted YEAH:
Baldwin (D-WI)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Braun (R-IN)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Coons (D-DE)
Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Cruz (R-TX)
Duckworth (D-IL)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Graham (R-SC)
Hassan (D-NH)
Hawley (R-MO)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Hirono (D-HI)
Kaine (D-VA)
Kelly (D-AZ)
Kennedy (R-LA)
King (I-ME)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Lujan (D-NM)
Markey (D-MA)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Murray (D-WA)
Ossoff (D-GA)
Padilla (D-CA)
Peters (D-MI)
Reed (D-RI)
Rosen (D-NV)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Sinema (D-AZ)
Smith (D-MN)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Van Hollen (D-MD)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)


43 Senators who voted NAY:
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blackburn (R-TN)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Capito (R-WV)
Cassidy (R-LA)
Collins (R-ME)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Cotton (R-AR)
Cramer (R-ND)
Crapo (R-ID)
Daines (R-MT)
Ernst (R-IA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hagerty (R-TN)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Johnson (R-WI)
Lankford (R-OK)
Lee (R-UT)
Lummis (R-WY)
Manchin (D-WV)
Marshall (R-KS)
McConnell (R-KY)
Moran (R-KS)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Portman (R-OH)
Risch (R-ID)
Romney (R-UT)
Rounds (R-SD)
Sasse (R-NE)
Scott (R-FL)
Scott (R-SC)
Shelby (R-AL)
Sullivan (R-AK)
Thune (R-SD)
Tillis (R-NC)
Toomey (R-PA)
Tuberville (R-AL)
Wicker (R-MS)
Young (R-IN)

To view the complete roll call vote, go to:
U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 117th Congress – 2nd Session


The NCFO is an affiliate of 32BJ SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, which has 2.1 million members dedicated to raising industry standards, making life better for working families and our communities, and building a fair economy.

NCFO Press Release

Falls Church, VA – (276) 706-3210

Statement regarding 7 days of sick pay for Rail

On Wednesday, November 30, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the House Concurrent Resolution 119. Resolution 119 provides seven (7) days of paid sick leave for all railroad workers employed at Class I railroads. The House Concurrent Resolution 119 passed by a vote of 221 in favor, 207 opposed.

The NCFO applauds the 3 Republican members of the House and the 218 Democratic members of the House who voted in favor of Resolution 119. The 207 Republican members of the House who voted NO, should be ashamed of their vote. These 207 Republican members enjoy their own lucrative sick-leave benefit. However, they voted that the American NCFO Class 1 railroad membership isn’t deserving of the same benefit.

NCFO President, Dean Devita, made the following statement:

For three (3) years the Railroads refused to engage in good faith bargaining, the agreement that was reached, was the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board #250, not from traditional bargaining. The Railroads refused to engage in any subject that would reduce profits for their stockholders. The Presidential Emergency Board failed to address the sick leave issue, which in this day, makes no sense and cannot be defended. The wage increase that was recommended was the largest in 48 years. However, 48 years ago when an NCFO member went to visit their medical provider, they simply had to walk into a doctor’s office for treatment. Today, we have to schedule appointments. Often times it may take weeks or months, especially for new patients. Furthermore, with the advancements of our healthcare system, patients have greater access to specialists, but those visits have to be scheduled well in advance and cannot be easily re-scheduled. Regardless of the medical provider a member visits, most members will have to endure some type of medical testing/exam throughout their career. For example, a member goes for their yearly scheduled exam. They must have time to attend the appointment, then have time to go to the testing location for tests ordered by the provider from the yearly exam, and finally return for a follow-up appointment for testing results. Based on the test results, it could require additional appointments.

In the last 48 years science has developed life-saving breakthroughs, that every American deserves to have access to. It’s astounding that in 2022, Corporate America and politicians would deny any American the opportunity to healthcare. The fact a member has to choose between their livelihood and their health, because of their employer and the 207 Republican House members that are elected officials, is downright immoral. Beyond that, railroaders get the flu, colds, and viruses like everyone else; they should have paid time off to deal with those illnesses just like almost everyone else (and members of Congress). Not only do railroaders deserve time off to recover, but their co-workers also deserve protection from infection.

Railroad workers working conditions are largely different than the working conditions in Congress. Our members work in hellish conditions, that often push workers to the brink of illnesses. It’s rather clear how several of the House Republican members value our work. Comments such as “railroad workers can use vacation time” or “railroad workers can’t have their cake and eat it too” are just a couple of the disgusting statements from these elected officials. Oddly enough, during the COVID-19 pandemic these same workers, were essential and deserving. But now that idea has changed!

The American worker is the greatest asset that America offers to their citizens. The American worker-built America. Many of the American-workers also served and protected America. The American worker is simply the backbone to the economy.

On September 1, 2022, I spoke at our Chapter #782 Union meeting in California. I shared with the members that the Railroads refused to bargain in good faith and that the only way we will get paid sick days is by Congressional action. So, here we are. Members of the House has spoken loud and clear. 221 “yes” votes for our railroad workers receiving seven (7) paid sick days! Now, it’s the time for the members of the Senate to stand in solidarity with railroad workers. Vote “YES” for sick time for railroad workers.”

NCFO President Dean Devita

The NCFO is an affiliate of 32BJ SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, which has 2.1 million members dedicated to raising industry standards, making life better for working families and our communities, and building a fair economy.

RRB News

844 North Rush Street Chicago, Illinois 60611-1275

Railroad Retirement Benefits to See Significant Rise in 2023

Most railroad retirement annuities, like social security benefits, will increase in January 2023 due to a rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the third quarter of 2021 to the corresponding period of the current year.

Cost-of-living increases are calculated in both the tier I and tier II portion of a railroad retirement annuity. Tier I benefits, like social security benefits, will increase by 8.7 percent, which is the percentage of the CPI rise. This is the largest increase since 1981, when it was 11.2 percent.

Tier II benefits will go up by 2.8 percent, which is 32.5 percent of the CPI increase. Vested dual benefit payments and supplemental annuities also paid by the Railroad Retirement Board

(RRB) are not adjusted for the CPI change.

In January 2023, the average regular railroad retirement employee annuity will increase $215 a month to $3,344 and the average of combined benefits for an employee and spouse will increase $304 a month to $4,838. For those aged widow(er)s eligible for an increase, the average annuity will increase $120 a month to $1,691.

Widow(er)s whose annuities are being paid under the Railroad Retirement and Survivors’ Improvement Act of 2001 will not receive annual cost-of-living adjustments until their annuity amount is exceeded by the amount that would have been paid under prior law, counting all interim cost-of-living increases otherwise payable. Some 49 percent of the widow(er)s on the RRB’s rolls are being paid under the 2001 law.

If a railroad retirement or survivor annuitant also receives a social security or other government benefit, such as a public service pension, any cost-of-living increase in that benefit will offset the increased tier I benefit. However, tier II cost-of-living increases are not reduced by increases in other government benefits. If a widow(er) whose annuity is being paid under the 2001 law is also entitled to an increased government benefit, her or his railroad retirement survivor annuity may decrease.

In late December the RRB will mail notices to all annuitants providing a breakdown of the annuity rates payable to them in January 2023.


RRB.gov
General Information: 877-772-5772

Public Affairs
Media Inquiries: [email protected] 312-751-4777


https://www.rrb.gov/sites/default/files/2022-10/NR2205.pdf

NCFO Press Release

Falls Church, VA

NCFO Members Vote to Ratify Agreement

The membership has voted to ratify a tentative agreement with the carriers, after almost three years of negotiations between the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU 32BJ(NCFO) and the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC). The vote was passed with a 58.7% margin in favor of the negotiated contract.

NCFO President Dean Devita stated “The agreement includes the highest wage increase in 48 years, five annual service recognition payments, an additional paid day off, and enhanced Autism healthcare benefits something we been fighting for over 25 years. We also increased the maximum hearing benefit from $600.00 to $2,000.00. Members will receive a 22% wage increase, receive retroactive pay within 60 days.” Devita continued “The terms of this agreement were not negotiated at the bargaining table. It was recommended by Presidential Emergency Board #250. It must be noted that the Carrier’s made degrading proposals for three long years while our members suffered without a wage increase. NCFO and our Rail Labor partners had to fight this contract round at the Presidential Emergency Board. Besides the strong wage increases and the increase in our Health Insurance many members of the NCFO are disappointed with the terms of the agreement. I strongly agree with them. Quality of life issues after the COVID-19 crisis is extremely important, sick leave and time off to visit Medical Practitioners are more important today than it was 48 years ago. Although the agreement is finalized, the NCFO will continue to work on this and many other issues”.

The members made their decision, let’s respect everyone’s opinion and continue to fight for the rights of our members.

The NCFO is thankful for the support of our members during this horrific round.


The NCFO is an affiliate of 32BJ SEIU,the Service Employees International Union, which has 2.1 million members dedicated to raising industry standards, making life better for working families and our communities, and building a fair economy.

NCFO Press Release

Falls Church, VA

Update on the Tentative Agreement

Ratification ballots pertaining to the Tentative Agreement (TA) between the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers and the National Carriers Conference Committee {Class I freight Railroads} have been sent to the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers members, last known address. The deadline to vote on the TA is October 13, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. EST. NCFO Members will receive instructions on how to vote. The American Arbitration Association has been retained to conduct the balloting.

If you experience any problem with the system, please call (800) 273-0726 or (215) 731-2280 (Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST).

NCFO Press Release

Falls Church, VA

September 16, 2022 Strike Q&A

Question: Can NCFO Members go on strike at 12:00:001 AM on Friday, September 16, 2022?

Answer: No. NCFO is engaging in an agreement ratification process, during which NCFO Members cannot exercise self-help (i.e., go on strike) at this time.

Question: If other Railroad crafts strike at 12:00:01 AM on Friday, September 16, 2022, do NCFO Members leave the job?

Answer: NCFO Members are required to honor all picket lines. If you report to work and other crafts have formed a picket line, DO NOT CROSS THE PICKET LINE. However, if you are mid-shift (already at work and working) and a strike is called by other Union Crafts, NCFO Members must finish working their shift, secure all equipment and leave work thereafter and not return until the strike is over, or there is a cessation of the strike or workers are compelled to return to work by legislation or order.

NCFO Press Release

Falls Church, VA

NCFO Executive Board Provides an UPDATE on the tentative agreement with the National Carrier’s Conference Committee

Since we last communicated with the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers (NCFO) Membership, the NCFO has met with the Railroads at a public interest meeting at the NMB with Labor Secretary Walsh and continued to have discussions with the Railroads concerning the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board #250. The NCFO met with all our General Chairmen and Regional Chairmen to discuss our situation. It was the opinion of NCFO officers and the General and Regional Chairmen that, since this contract would offer the highest wage increase in 48 years and the highest amount of retroactive pay in any National Agreement, this agreement must be presented to the membership for their consideration, and that the NCFO has to allow our democratic process to move forward and allow the Members to Vote on their contract. Therefore, The National Conference of Firemen & Oilers (NCFO) reached a Tentative Agreement with the National Carrier’s Conference Committee (NCCC). This Tentative Agreement will be presented to the NCFO Members for ratification.

The Tentative Agreement secures all of the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board #250. Under the terms of this Agreement, employees will receive General Wage Increases of 24% compounded Increases over 5 years.

The recommendation also called for five $1,000 Service Recognition Bonus. The Tentative Agreement provides positive design changes to our Healthcare Plans related to the coverage and treatment for autism disorder and hearing benefits. It also provides an additional day of paid leave.

We also noticed that a lot of misinformation is being spread, we recommend that you and your family, review the terms of the agreement and the information that will be provided by NCFO to make an educated decision which would be in the best interest of your family.

NCFO Members in National Freight handling can expect to receive voting instructions in the near future.