The BMWE has joined the BRS and possibly the BLET and SMART-TD Crafts subject to the outcome of their respective ratifications, with the same status quo period for the following reasons:
1. Republican Senators Richard Burr and Roger Wicker have already introduced a bill that would prohibit us from striking and further impose the National Tentative Agreement without the railroad-specific agreements for away from home expenses.
2. There is no other bill in congress at this time to allow us to strike; Congresspersons have been consumed with the mid-term elections. We will now have an opportunity to educate Congress and a obtain a better bill written for Railroad Workers, not the railroads.
3. Joining with the BRS and possibly the operating crafts will also improve our chances of not having Congress intervene on the railroads behalf and instead allow us to strike if necessary. This ultimately strengthens our chances to get paid sick leave.
The railroads continue to reject all BMWED and BRS proposals for paid sick leave. There are reports indicating the railroads intend to begin ceasing various rail operations within the next few days, in anticipation of a strike on November 20, even though in September they did not start taking such action until five days before the date of potential exercise of self-help. These service shutdowns would be a premature exercise of self-help by the railroads and a violation of their common carrier obligations to provide services to their customers. These shutdowns would also represent a blatant attempt to cause panic and economic harm to the railroads’ customers and the U.S. economy right before the Thanksgiving holiday. They would also be a manipulative attempt to instigate Congress to intervene against the interests of railroad workers. The railroad workers are not the problem here and are not to blame for the current situation. The American public and the railroads’ customers deserve better. They cannot be held hostage to protect the immense wealth of the railroads’ greedy executives and shareholders.
Therefore, the BMWED National Division Bargaining Committee has determined to extend its status quo period to synchronize with our Brothers and Sisters in the BRS Union if the BLET or SMART-TD Unions ratify their tentative agreements. However, if the BLET or SMART-TD fail to ratify their agreement, BMWED’s status quo period will then end at the same time as either the BLET or SMART-TD, which is at 0000:01 Eastern time on December 9, 2022.