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Employment cuts sought in rail transportation.

"Developments in Industrial Relations" is prepared by George Ruben of the Division of Developments in Labor-Management Relations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is largely based on information from secondary sources. Employment cuts sought in rail transportation

The railroads' long-standing drive to improve their competitive position by reducing employment was boosted when CSX Transportation and the United Transportation Union agreed to cut one of the two brakeman jobs from train crews on about one-third of CSX's system. After the cut, crews will consist of an engineer, a conductor, and a brakeman. The crew reduction at the Nation's largest railroad initially applied only to the Louisville & Nashville, Clinchfield, and Chattanooga lines, but similar terms were subsequently negotiated for the Pere Marquette and Hocking Valley lines. Negotiations on the issue were continuing with the United Transportation Union for the rest of the carrier's 20,000 mile system. csx currently has 38,000 employees, down from 72,000 in 1980 when it operated on 27,000 miles of track. csx's goal is to reduce employment to 30,000 and route mileage to 15,000 over the next 2 years.

The crew-reduction plan was a departure from plans of the past because it called for cuts effective immediately, rather than only when employees left through normal attrition. The plan offers several options to those who volunteer to leave:

* a $50,000 separation allowance;

* a transfer to another location where csx needs workers and $20,000 relocation allowance; or

* a furlough and a $25,000 payment, with the right tobe recalled to active service on a seniority basis.

If the number of volunteers falls short of the reduction goals, csx is permitted to remove workers on a seniority basis and pay them $40,000 to resign or $10,000 to accept a furlough.

Although the carrier was centering its employment reduction effort on train crews, it also was pressing for some cuts in its repair and maintenance work force. Even before the United Transportation Union settlements, some of the various unions representing these employees had accepted similar "pay-for-job-loss" arrangements while others had not and were contesting csx plans to unilaterally proceed with employment cuts.

Although cutting jobs is the major issue in the current industrywide bargaining, the carriers-including csx -and the unions also are bargaining on wages, benefits, and working conditions. Contracts in the industry became amendable on June 30, 19 8 8, under provisions ofthe Railway Labor Act, but bargaining has been continuing without any major threats of work stoppages.
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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Mar 1, 1989
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