COVID-19 (Corona Virus) Information Center
This site contains multiple resources and communications from various points. Please understand this situation is fluid, therefore updates and additional resources will be included often. Stay tuned to ensure you have current available information !!
May 5, 2020
Good Morning Sisters and Brothers,
May 1, 2020 BNSF announced they “will now be requiring the use of masks or cloth face coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained”. Front line supervisors were informed of this on May 2, 2020 and all of us were informed May 4, 2020 either by email or in your morning job briefings.
Initially the message given by BNSF leaders was this was going to happen or you get disciplined! Your Union, The BMWE informed BNSF we were not going to stand for this and there were other ways to address this expectation under our present circumstances in this country. After contacting BNSF VP’s and addressing the harsh standards that BNSF’s front-line supervisors were setting, an emergency call was initiated at BNSF CEO level and the message was corrected began to change. As General managers were contacted, they contacted their front-line supervisors to correct how this was supposed to be initiated.
The BMWE does respect that BNSF is providing face mask to every MOW employee, keeping you safe and providing a safe work environment is their primary obligation. It is one of the primary reasons this great Union was created was to keep you safe. As the number of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow WE MUST ALL DO OUR PART TO PROTECT OURSELVES, FAMILIES, SISTERS AND BROTHERS WE WORK WITH EVERYDAY. One way to do this is by wearing some form of face covering as explained in the last BNSF communication we received.
As stated by BNSF:
“This can be done by wearing a mask, homemade covering, gaiter, bandana, fabric, or cut up old tee shirt. If there is another barrier or task related PPE such as a respirator, (non-mesh) face shield, window, etc. then that can be used in lieu of a face mask”.
Please remember to follow BNSF rules, don’t over exert yourself, and take plenty of breaks. As the temperatures warm up and summer approaches, we all will be faced with unknown challenges dealing with this COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing a mask or face covering will most likely require you to take more frequent breaks to cool down and stay hydrated, staying safe and healthy is the primary goal.
One last note, in conversations with BNSF officials some did not rule out if a situation requires it discipline will not be ruled out. The old phrase “rule by an iron fist” still exist. However, as proud Union members of the Maintenance of Way craft we also have fist and we will stand together, but we also have dignity and morals that distinguish us from the rest. Please do your part, cooperate in this effort to stop the spread of this deadly virus, the silent killer, wear the mask or face covering when necessary. Do it for your families, friends, Sisters and Brothers. Contact us if you are not or have not been provided mask.
ATSFF System Officers
March 18, 2020
COVID-19 Illness Compensation and Benefits: Scheduled Employees
The work we do is vital to the United States supply chain. Every day we come to work and keep America’s goods flowing across this great nation. Over the past few weeks COVID-19 has impacted much of the nation—but you, the proud men and women of BNSF, have continued to come to work and perform your jobs safely and professionally, and we want to thank you for that.
Over the next several weeks, our nation will face many challenges and changes. During this time, we will work with all our employees to make sure you have a safe and productive work environment. There have been questions and we want to be clear. We will relax our policies with anyone contracting COVID-19 or directed to quarantine. We will not discipline anyone for following quarantine guidelines. We can do this because we’re confident that our teams know the importance of doing our jobs to fulfill our critical role in the supply chain.
For your own health and safety, and out of respect for the wellbeing of your fellow employees, BNSF asks that you continue to take the following precautions:
• Employees are required to follow appropriate CDC Guidelines for self-protection and avoid COVID-19 "hot spots" or experiences (for example: cruises, conventions, large gatherings, etc.) that increase the chance of exposure.
• If you are not feeling well or experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, shortness of breath, etc.), seek medical attention, but always call your doctor first unless it’s an emergency. Absences for those employees showing symptoms who opt to get tested will be handled with leniency. Absences caused by normal illnesses and sickness will be handled consistent with previous handling and under existing policies and guidelines.
If you or an immediate household member tests positive for COVID-19, or if you or an immediate household member has been told by a healthcare professional (must be documented) to quarantine for any amount of time as a result of
potential exposure, you must alert your supervisor and contact Leaves Administration by phone at 817-352-3371 or by email at LeavesAdmin@bnsf.com or by fax 817-867-5759 and seek a medical leave of absence. Upon confirmation of a positive test, or submitting the appropriate medical documentation mandating quarantine, you will be provided the following:
BNSF will compensate you for the first four workdays that you are on leave
- TYE Crafts - compensated 1/52nd or their daily rate
- Engineering Crafts - compensated at their daily rate of service
- Mechanical - compensated at their daily rate of service
- ATDA - compensated at their daily rate of service
- Clerical - compensated at their daily rate of service
Should you need more than four days under the requested leave, you will be allowed to utilize unused Vacation, Personal Leave Days, sick or other paid time off granted to you in your CBA. Once you have recovered or completed the quarantine, follow existing processes to return to work. Some cases will require the Medical Status Form and a review by Medical but most will only require the Medical Short Form.
The BNSF Attendance Guidelines are not in conflict with these recommendations/requirements, as attendance is reviewed on a case by case basis. Employees are expected to use customary mark-off procedures, including timely communication with manpower management, where applicable, and their supervisors.
Please note, if an employee is exposed to COVID-19 and had traveled internationally after March 23, 2020, they will be disqualified from paid leave.bbEmployees who have either contracted COVID-19 or are under quarantine by the health department due to exposure, and who are unable to work, will be considered on a Medical Leave of Absence and therefore will not be subject to handling under attendance guidelines, PEPA or any related policies. Please remember, as railroader you may be eligible for additional benefits under the RRB. The following are additional resources:
RRB Sickness or Unemployment Benefits (following RRB prescribed qualify-cation period)
• Employees with less than 10 years - receive up to 130 days of sickness benefits
• Employees with more than 10 years - receive the initial 130 days plus an additional 65 days of extended benefits
Supplemental Sick Plan Benefits
• Employees receive benefits information though www.yourtracktohealth.com
• Crafts with SSB benefits:
o Maintenance of Way - Aetna
o Signal - Aetna
o Shop Crafts - Aetna
o Yardmasters - Trustmark
As conditions continue to evolve we will evaluate and continue to communicate any changes. Stayed tuned to BNSF Connect and the BNSF Employee Portal for the latest updates. Thank you, again, for your continued commitment to serving our customers and our nation.Paused