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Rail Roundup: BNSF reaches sick leave agreements with 3 unions

BNSF reaches sick leave deals with three unions

BNSF and three unions — the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen and the mechanical and engineering department of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART-MD) — have reached agreements that would grant paid sick days to those members.

The new agreements call for an additional four paid days off to use as sick days, and they provide the opportunity to convert up to three personal leave days to sick days each year. They also build upon existing paid time off and sickness benefits, BNSF said Thursday. 

BNSF (NYSE: BRK.B) said the agreements reflect larger discussions about modernizing the work environment.

“BNSF remains committed to continued dialogue, including the potential addition of paid sick days for those crafts that did not already have individual paid sick days prior to the recent national bargaining round,” the railroad said in a news release.

BNSF struck similar sick leave agreements with two other unions last month — the Transportation Communications Union and the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers. 

“Our members spoke and the District leadership moved into action,” IAM District 19 BNSF Lead General Chairman Kenny Krause said in a release. The release describes meeting with BNSF since last December to discuss sick leave, among other issues such as finding ways to speed up the claims process

“This is a historic win for our members as we have been fighting for paid sick time for quite some time,” Krause said.

The agreements come as a division of IAM, SMART-MD and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have jointly filed a lawsuit against BNSF over the railroad’s use of contractors to handle locomotive maintenance duties. The suit in the U.S. federal courts also argues that BNSF has modified its maintenance program to its detriment.

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Trinity Industries acquires RSI Logistics

Dallas-based rail car lessor Trinity Industries (NYSE: TRN) has acquired RSI Logistics for $70 million.

Okemos, Michigan-headquartered RSI provides software and logistics services to the rail industry. It also sports business units servicing terminal management and intermodal transportation.

The acquisition closed Wednesday and isn’t expected to be material to Trinity’s results, the company said Thursday. 

“We are excited about the acquisition of RSI Logistics,” Trinity President and CEO Jean Savage said in a news release. “It is another step as we seek to expand our service offerings with complementary solutions that make rail a more compelling mode of transportation. Specifically, RSI expands the breadth and quality of Trinity’s platform, adding logistics services, terminal operations and intermodal transportation. Also coupling RSI’s expertise and reputation with the transformational technology of Trinsight will deliver a unique tool to rail shippers to gain more control of their supply chains.”

Trinity had also recently acquired Holden America, a Montreal-headquartered manufacturer of multilevel vehicle securement and protection systems, gravity-outlet gates and gate accessories for freight rail, for an initial purchase price of $70 million earlier this year.

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STB names nine members to board’s Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee

The Surface Transportation Board has appointed nine new members to the board’s Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee (RETAC). Each member will serve three years through September 2026.

The new members are Adam Anderson, John Bridson, James Grech, Christopher Hand, John Haysbert, Paul Lang, Vern Lund, Dave Slade and Ben Sweat. More information about each member is available on STB’s website. The members represent rail car owners and lessors, utilities, coal producers, renewable energy and biofuel producers and organized labor.

RETAC’s mission is to provide advice and guidance to STB, as well as serve as a forum to discuss issues related to the transport of energy resources by rail, according to the federal agency. The committee, first established in July 2007, consists of 28 voting members. The five members of STB serve as ex officio members while representatives from the departments of Agriculture, Energy, Transportation and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are also present. 

“These nine new members of RETAC represent a broad range of experience in various industries and bring to the committee an intimate knowledge of real-world operations,” STB Chairman Marty Oberman said in a Thursday news release. “It is imperative that the board bring together as many voices as possible in our stakeholder committees. RETAC continues to provide a diversity of perspective, and I look forward to working with these new members to discuss issues related to ensuring the effective and efficient rail transportation of energy resources.”

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