Thread regarding Norfolk Southern Corp. layoffs

Treated like a piece of meat

This is NS opinion of its workers. Soon the y will be coming out with a similar policy to BNSF "HI VIZ" Attendance policy that punishes the workers for their inability to hire or attract workers, making you truly 24/7 available at their whim. The feel since they pay you (and they don't even want to do that) they OWN you. They are taking out their failing on YOU, claiming you "were hired to be a full time employee" yet working you well over full time weekly hours. You make your vacation starts for the year in June? Well that means you have already worked what a normal employee with weekends off has in a year. But that's not good enough. I know of people with 500+ starts in the entire year- DOUBLE what a normal 40 hour/wk worker does in a year. Pandemic has given them cover to explain why they cant get new hires aside from treating people like garbage. They wont give us new contracts or raises. They treat customers like garbage. Customers exist to serve the railroad, not the other way around. They are still fighting the Civil War. One man crews to boost profits. DP every train to make them even bigger, sc--w local communities blocked crossings. This place is a joke.

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Post ID: @OP+1fhpwNKx

12 replies (most recent on top)

True: "Customers exist to serve the railroad, not the other way around"

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Post ID: @1Zejj+1fhpwNKx

Hope all you guys hanging on for hope of a good contract read that. It’s over, move on.

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Post ID: @3gra+1fhpwNKx

Lawyers for BNSF gloat that the unions have “never prevailed” in court in 33 years
Following federal district judge Mark T. Pittman’s emergency order on January 25 blocking a strike by 17,000 BNSF workers over a new draconian availability policy, the company and the unions have filed cross-motions for preliminary injunctions in the federal court case. The unions are arguing that the old policy should remain in place until the dispute is litigated, while the company is demanding that the judge extend the January 25 emergency order for the duration of the case.

After the judge’s January 25 emergency temporary restraining order, the judge entered a further order on February 10 extending the original order until February 22. At this point, there is no hearing or deadline docketed for a decision on the cross-motions for preliminary injunctions, but the judge is likely to make a decision before the temporary restraining order expires on February 22.

The two unions involved, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers–Transportation Division (“SMART-TD”) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (“BLET”), cover approximately 17,000 BNSF workers out of 35,000 total BNSF workers in the United States. Workers in both these unions voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike last month.

The dispute turns in part on whether the conflict over management’s new “ Hi-Viz ” attendance policy is deemed a “major” or “minor” dispute under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), a nearly century-old legal framework aimed at suppressing strikes by railway workers. On January 25, the judge ruled that the new policy was likely to be ruled “minor” and declared that a strike would be “illegal,” setting the stage for the company’s unilateral imposition of the policy on February 1.

The new “Hi-Viz” policy, a “points-based” system that penalizes workers taking time off for any reason, has an especially provocative and gratuitous character under the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the new policy is to squeeze more availability out of the existing workforce, laying the foundation for future cost-cutting, harassment, and layoffs.

This brief, which was filed in opposition to the unions’ request for an order maintaining the status quo, represents the combined effort of BNSF’s in-house lawyer David M. Pryor; Washington, DC transportation industry law specialist Donald Munro of the law firm Jones Day; and the Fort Worth, Texas law firm of Kelly Hart & Hallman.

It also was a major player in the 2014 bankruptcy of Detroit, in which the city’s credits loot the city’s assets. Kevyn Orr, a former partner at the firm, was appointed the city’s unelected Emergency Manager, and Jones Day raked in $58 million in fees for its services.

Reading the BNSF-Jones Day brief, one gets a sense of what BNSF management really thinks of its workers.

But the company’s brief is not just revealing as to the real attitude of management towards workers. To the extent the unions have not substantially prevailed against BNSF in a similar case in 33 years, this is an indictment of the entire American judicial system, and especially the framework of capitalist “labor relations,” according to which industrial struggles are forcibly channeled into government-controlled proceedings that are weighted in favor of the employers.

To that extent, these court papers also expose the union bureaucracies themselves, which have collected dues from their members for decades while constantly telling their members to place their hopes in a legal framework within which the union cannot realistically expect to win.

In fact, for all their theatrical posturing in court, the union bureaucracies welcome and thrive on this oppressive “labor relations” framework, which provides them an excuse for their failure to secure any gains for workers for decades as well as a legal pretext for their relentless suppression of strikes. This is exemplified by the union response to the January 25 order, which was to dutifully enforce it and instruct BNSF workers that they were not allowed to talk to the press.

It is true that the judge’s order did prohibit the union from striking and from directly agitating for a strike and required the union to instruct its members not to engage in “self-help,” meaning wildcat pickets or other physical efforts to take matters into their own hands. But nothing in the judge’s order could or does prevent rank-and-file workers from verbally expressing their opinions to whomever they please, from informing the press regarding the facts of their situation, or from assembling in meetings for the purposes of discussing their strategy. These rights are all protected in the US by the First Amendment.

The January 25 court order blocking the strike was itself a travesty of justice and its reasoning was absurd on its face. The judge claimed that if there was an “illegal strike,” then “BNSF would suffer substantial, immediate, and irreparable harm.” But such harm would be entirely self-inflicted, since BNSF could avoid a strike altogether by maintaining its existing attendance policy.

In addition, it goes without saying that “harm” to a company’s bottom line is the whole point of a strike. If no strike was allowed to cause “harm” to the company, one might as well outlaw all strikes altogether. In fact, this is the entire purpose of the legal framework set up by the RLA.

The judge also wrote, “The record further establishes that a strike would exacerbate our current supply-chain crisis—harming the public at large, not just BNSF.” In fact, this demonstrates the real motivation behind the ruling is political—legally compelling workers to remain on the job in order to pump out profits for Wall Street.

Berkshire Hathaway, which owns BNSF, saw its stock price rise from approximately $456,900 on January 24, the day before the judge’s emergency order blocking the strike, to $479,370 as of the end of the day Friday, February 11. This represents a significant increase over a period of under three weeks, signaling that Wall Street approves of the company’s conduct.

Over the past year, the price of Berkshire Hathaway stock has risen by a total of $110,037, or a staggering 29.8 percent. Over the past five years, the price has risen $226,532.00, representing a near-doubling of its total market capitalization over 60 months. Swimming in these giant piles of wealth, intoxicated by the smell of money overflowing around them, the oligarchs at the helm have decided that now is the time to make working conditions for employees even more intolerable and oppressive.

The latest rounds of legal theater in federal court demonstrates the need for workers to take the initiative out of the union bureaucracy and into their own hands. This must be done by forming a rank-and-file committee composed of BNSF workers, excluding from membership union bureaucrats, to challenge the unions’ conduct of the dispute and formulate and fight for their own strategy and demands.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/02/14/bnsf-f14.html

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Post ID: @3myc+1fhpwNKx

well described and what the end of an era sounds like, good luck

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Post ID: @2hpy+1fhpwNKx

Might as well move on now. Nothing good will be in a contract when both parties are on the same side.

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Post ID: @2wlr+1fhpwNKx

Adrian what about Conway is King? You seem to think management is King!

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Post ID: @2tyn+1fhpwNKx

I am waiting to see what the new contract brings then I will make my decision on moving on. I have 12 years on the railroad and am willing to walk at this point. It was great while it lasted!

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Post ID: @2sdt+1fhpwNKx

at least they got the operating ratio down!

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Post ID: @1rai+1fhpwNKx

Laughing at the comments going after OP. Because I am seeing guys quit and others looking for jobs right now. People with over 10 years seniority. Seems to me that pointing out how bad of a company NS is doesn't have anything to do with working for them. Some people don't have any options but to stay on if they are vested in RRB Tiers. NS needs to have an implosion at this point, all the Class 1's do. It may dawn some comprehension on them about how their business model doesn't work!

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Post ID: @1gdm+1fhpwNKx

Are you an indentured servant? You are free to seek employment elsewhere.

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Post ID: @1lbu+1fhpwNKx

Toothless aggression. Can't be to bad your still working for NS

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Post ID: @lsc+1fhpwNKx

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