In negotiations with the national freight railroads on July 7, 2010, TCU President Bob Scardelletti declared the talks to be at an impasse, and told the carriers that it was time to move the process forward.

On Friday, July 9, 2010, TCU invoked mediation by the National Mediation Board (NMB) for Carmen and Clerks. Also invoking mediation were the Machinists (IAM), Electricians (IBEW), Dispatchers (ATDA), and TWU Carmen. All five unions have been negotiating together in a voluntary coalition.

There has been no progress in the negotiations since they began in January. The railroads are seeking major cost shifting concessions in the national health and welfare plan, including increased employee contributions and dramatic increases in co-pays and deductibles.

President Scardelletti told the carrier negotiators that the unions at the table would never voluntarily agree to diminish the national health and welfare plan. He pointed to the carriers’ economic health, even during a recessionary period.

The NMB will now appoint a mediator or mediators to oversee the negotiations, and set a schedule for future talks.

“We are not willing to let these talks drag on,” says President Scardelletti. “We have a great health plan, and we are determined to keep it that way. There is no reason to go backwards with some of the most profitable companies in America. We hope that under mediation the carriers will change their tune. If not, we will do whatever it takes to preserve our level of benefits.”