Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Teamster rail workers picket Amtrak chairman over bad-faith bargaining

About 150 rail workers picketed the law offices of Amtrak's board chairman to demand the railroad bargain in good faith after three years of fruitless mediation.

The Passenger Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition (PRLBC) organized yesterday's protest in the Brunswick, N.J., office Amtrak Board Chairman Anthony Coscia.

The PRLBC explained in a statement:
Amtrak has continually stalled talks and engaged in bad faith bargaining.  The Union has asked to be released from government mediation so that the dispute can be resolved.  Amtrak opposition to this release is the reason for the protest. 
The PRLBC wrote to Amtrak Board Chairman Anthony Coscia last year requesting that he engage the dispute.  He ignored this appeal.  Last month the PRLBC again wrote to Mr. Coscia, and were again ignored.   A release from mediation will trigger a process where a new agreement would be in place in about 90 days.
Members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) and Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen staged a sidewalk picket and leaflet campaign. Other PRLBC representatives handed out 20,000 "Union Buster" leaflets to morning rail commuters at the New Brunswick train station. BMWED is a member of the Teamsters Rail Conference.

In a statement, the BMWED called on Coscia to meet with union members directly and hash out an agreement to end the more than three-year impasse:
... we require the Amtrak Board under Anthony Coscia's direction to insist that the National Mediation Board release the parties from mediation and allow the collective bargaining process to develop as was intended.
Joining PRLBC in its efforts yesterday were members of the BMWED Commuter Rail System Division, the New Jersey State Industrial Union Council, USLaborAgainstWar, CATA, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Philadelphia Jobs with Justice, Philadelphia Hospital Workers Union, the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, the American Association of University Professionals, the New Jersey Teachers Union and Communications Workers of America.

Stay tuned. We anticipate there'll be another Amtrak protest event.

Union members picket Amtrak chairman.