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IAM STRIKES CSX-T

 IAM STRIKES CSX-T
 WASHINGTON, June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement


issued early this morning by the International Association of Machinists (IAM):
 More than 1,500 machinists struck one of the largest freight rail carriers at 12:01 this morning, after four-and-a-half frustrating and fruitless years of negotiations with 40 of the nations freight carriers, involving almost 9,000 railroad machinists. CSX-T was struck because of the minimum impact to the traveling public and on industry using rail freight service, since other freight carrier service is available in the same communities. The International Association of Machinists (IAM) and two other affected unions refrained from striking AMTRAK out of concern for the public interest. IAM negotiators continue to be available to negotiate with the freight carriers and AMTRAK.
 AMTRAK ceased negotiations with the IAM last week while the union continued to be available for negotiations, making a strike seem inevitable on the nation's passenger rail service. The unwillingness to bargain in good faith showed AMTRAK's disdain for both their employees and their commuting passengers who would have been stranded in the event of a strike this morning.
 The IAM recognizes that some passenger service is still impacted by the CSX-T strike, so the union has asked the strikers not to interfere with commuter traffic. "We have gone out of our way to protect commuters, and any inconvenience to the public must be laid at the feet of the carriers, themselves," said IAM Vice President John F. Peterpaul.
 "Our members watched railroad profits soar, while management continued to sub-contract their work to non-union shops," Peterpaul exclaimed. "They're counting on this strike to bring the freight carriers back to the bargaining table for earnest negotiations," Peterpaul said.
 IAM President George J. Kourpias declared, "IAM members are prepared to stay out as long as it takes to protect their job security, medical benefits and income. This disdain for working Americans is a nationwide cancer spread by President Bush and his cronies, and we're putting a stop to it tonight."
 The most important issues for IAM members on both the freight carriers and AMTRAK are:
 -- CONTRACTING OUT OF WORK: The board refused to provide
 protection from freight carrier and AMTRAK subcontracting
 that farms out IAM work to non-union shops. The IAM lost
 300-400 jobs on CSX-T alone, because of sub-contracting.
 The board offered no protection for workers who are victims
 of other blatant freight carrier schemes to undermine
 negotiated union contracts, such as "short-lining."
 Carriers use this tactic to carve off a section of a
 railroad network and sell it to another owner, often one of
 their own managers, to eliminate the union contract of those
 working on the newly created short line. These short-lines
 now comprise about 14 percent of the U.S. rail system.
 -- HEALTH AND WELFARE: The IAM rejects the boards'
 recommendations to have workers, who can least afford it,
 shoulder the rising costs of medical care. IAM members are
 unwilling to begin paying the deductibles and co-payments
 called for by the boards.
 -- SKILL DIFFERENTIAL: IAM Transportation Vice President John
 Peterpaul thoroughly documented before the board that rail
 machinists are grossly underpaid for their level of skill and
 training. The IAM requested a 10 percent adjustment for
 machinist journeymen basic pay rates. Railroad machinists
 earn between five and six dollars an hour LESS than their
 counterparts, airline mechanics, for the same essential skill
 level of work. The board offered no adjustment.
 The IAM continues to ask Congress NOT to intervene in the strike, especially in light of the union's concern for commuters. With the obvious pro-carrier bias of the presidential emergency boards (PEB), the IAM is convinced that the strike is the only tool left to put them on equal footing with management.
 It is obvious that the PEBs, named by the President of the United States, were only in session to confirm the position AMTRAK and the rail carriers have been taking in negotiations. The IAM was dismayed at the recommendations, especially in view of the record profits that the freight carriers and AMTRAK have been making while our members languished in negotiations. Notably, AMTRAK management collected hefty pay raises while IAM members remained at 1988 pay levels.
 Negotiating for the IAM are IAM Vice President John F. Peterpaul; IAM District 19 President and Directing General Chairman Robert L. Reynolds; and IAM Assistant Railroad Coordinator Mark Filipovic.
 Two-thirds of the voting members must vote "yes" to authorize a strike in the IAM. The overwhelming vote to strike reflects how discouraged and abandoned by the system railroad machinists feel. Almost 9,000 IAM members work on the nation's freight carriers, and just under 1,000 mechanics are protected under an IAM contract on AMTRAK, nationwide.
 The two remaining unions negotiating with AMTRAK are: Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.
 -0- 6/24/92
 /CONTACT: Linda M. Ross of the International Association of Machinists, 202-857-5220/ CO: International Association of Machinists ST: District of Columbia IN: TRN SU:


SH -- NYON2 -- 3068 06/24/92 02:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 24, 1992
Words:839
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