The hearings for PEB 250 wrapped up yesterday and we expect to receive the PEB recommendation in the coming weeks.
In my previous update on Sunday I shared a link to both the Organization and Carrier proposals that were being presented to the PEB.
The Unions, together with our economist, attorneys and other expert witnesses laid out what I believe is a strong case explaining why our proposal is the most reasonable. Our proposal provides for real wage growth over the term of the agreement and seeks to hold the line on healthcare so that our wage increases are not offset by increasing healthcare cost.
You will probably hear some discussion on property or on social media concerning why the wage increases in the Union proposal at the PEB were less than what was proposed previously. It is important to remember that a PEB is not a time for bargaining. The real time for bargaining is prior to the PEB including in mediation. Unfortunately, the Carriers were never willing to bargain with us. They were only willing to demand major concessions in exchange for minimum wage increases. In fact, their proposal at the PEB offered a mere 10.6% net wage increase over the five year term after their proposed healthcare changes.
The PEB hearing is to consider the parties best offers and will make recommendations concerning which is most reasonable. That said, the Unions rely on our economist and other expert witnesses who must be able to testify and offer proof in support of our proposal.
I am proud of the work our team did and am hopeful the PEB will issue a report that will provide the framework for us to reach a voluntary agreement. As soon as I know more I will update you.
I also want to thank SMART-TD (UTU) President Jeremy Ferguson, in his testimony before PEB 250 President Ferguson pointed out the struggles railroad workers endured throughout the pandemic, specifically acknowledging the 102 TCU members that passed away due to COVID-19. Thank You Jeremy!