ATCHISON TOPEKA & SANTA FE FRISCO SYSTEM FEDERATION
BROTHERHOOD OF MAINTENANCE OF WAY EMPLOYES DIVISION
OF THE INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS
521 SE 10TH Street ? Newton, KS 67114 ? Phone (316) 283-1470 ? Fax (316) 283-7264 ?
June 21, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In order to protect the membership and set the record straight, this message is a necessary response to BMWED President Simpson's most recent letter(s) that you may have or will be receiving shortly. The copy of Simpson's letter received by General Chairpersons shows he is looking for dictatorial control over all levels of the BMWED. This is because he is trying to single-handedly dissolve your self-governing System Unions (Federation) and their bylaws to create ones of his choosing. He is attempting to force these chaotic changes in the middle of national bargaining. Simpson also wants to accomplish this less than a year before the National Division Convention occurs, where the rank-and-file membership can decide what they want. To achieve his goal, Simpson is looking to spend massive amounts of member funds to impose his will and undermine the voting power of the membership. Simpson did not ask for any approvals from the elected officers that oversee the budget, system federations, or local lodges, claiming he has the singular authority to act. Simpson seeks no board approval, even when spending for the numerous conventions he proposes could lead to a significant increase in your union dues. The timing of Simpson's move leaves any reasonable person to conclude that the real motivation is a Union President trying to cling to power over the union's future. After all, he and those helping him with this scheme are either retiring or trying to create a union structure that will help them remain in power.
In his letter, Simpson attempts to use propaganda to camouflage his scheme as beneficial to the BMWED membership, but it is yet another attack on our beloved Brotherhood. For example, the letter talks about how dues structures and bylaws are different between System Unions. Yet, dues structures and bylaws are different because the members of each Federation have different needs. The members of those Federations determine those needs and expenditures for those needs. More importantly, the due's structure and bylaws being different have nothing to do with boots-on-the-ground member representation.
Additionally, Simpson says BMWED members should pay for one General Chairperson and not several. However, no single BMWED member is paying for two general chairpersons, and it is dishonest to state otherwise. Moreover, if a self-governing System Union wants to merge with another System Union because they feel it would better represent their membership, they are entirely free to do so. But that is up to the rank-and-file membership of those Federations and not dictatorial mandates of a union President bent on power and control. These actions would likely result in significant changes that could harm representation of the membership. The plain and simple fact is that instead of focusing on National Bargaining, fighting contracting out, and stopping the bleeding of our membership numbers, Simpson is trying to dictate how the self-governing system unions will operate in the future.
When the railroads are most vigorous, our union should not follow Simpson's bad policy decision. After all, it does not take much effort to remember the internal organizing teams spending millions of dollars promoting that BMWED needs to be part of a bargaining coalition. Yet here we are, sitting out of one of the biggest railroad bargaining coalitions ever created. In other words, Simpson's policies at the National Division are a chaotic mess, and now he wants to dictate how the self-governing System Unions should be operated. Simpson also wants to get his hands into the coffers of these System unions. This is extremely dangerous because Simpson's policies have caused National Division to overspend for several consecutive years.
It is worth noting that Simpson was asked why he would not wait until the upcoming National Division Convention to let the rank-and-file members make these decisions. He responded that he was retiring in September 2022 and did not want to go through the trouble of fighting through a convention to try and get what he wants. If this is such a great proposal, he has every right to propose this plan through bylaw changes in the upcoming National Division Convention in June of 2022. The truth is, Simpson tried to pass this same issue through the rank-and-file members in attendance at the 2014 National Division Convention, and this was soundly defeated by the will and vote of the membership. Our voices must not be ignored!
Jeffery L. Fry
ATSFF General Chairman
BMWED Proposal to BNSF (Weekend Travel Allowance)
Brothers and Sisters -
On May 5, 2021, the combined System Federations made a one sentence proposal to BNSF Engineering Leadership related to weekend travel allowance benefits. BNSF is currently researching the proposal for tax, administration, and etc. Here is a copy of the DRAFT we proposed. This is what it stated:
THIS IS DRAFTED LANGUAGE, THE AGREEMENT IS NOT IN EFFECT, IT HAS ONLY BEEN PROPOSED.
[[[ For the purpose of BNSF Employees safety this agreement allows the option to claim WTA benefits regardless of the means/mode of travel referred to BN Agreement Rule 38, Appendix LL, and South Agreement Appendix 22, the parties have agreed to allow for safer and great flexibility when traveling on the weekend for Maintenance of Way employees who are otherwise eligible for WTA benefits under BN Rule 38, Section II (A)(F)/South Agreement Appendix 22:
1. Employees entitled to WTA benefits can receive the WTA benefit paymentregardless of the means/mode of travel. ]]]
(If you have additional questions, please contact your System Officers.)
NTSB Final Recommendation/Report
(BNSF Kingman AZ fatality)
Brothers and Sisters,
The NTSB has released their final report on the Kingman AZ Accident involving a Herzog RUM truck. I would like to thank the AT&SFF officers for there help in this investigation. Recommendation R-21-01
NTSB put forward to FRA is a big victory in aiding to protect our members when working with trains. I will be working closely with FRA in the implementation of these recommendations. Although these regulations apply to all railroads to my knowledge BNSF is the only railroad that was operating in a way that allowed this tragedy to take place.
Require all railroads to establish working limits that prevent trains or other on-track machinery from entering zones where employees, including those who work on or from maintenance-of-way equipment or on trains engaged in maintenance-of-way tasks, are working. (R-21-01)
Information that addresses the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 1117(b), as applicable, can be found in section 2.2 Protection of Roadway Workers Who Foul a Track. Information supporting (b)(1) can be found in sections 1.4.3 Maintenance-of-Way Crew, 1.10.4 Sight Distance, and 1.11 Roadway Worker Protection; (b)(2) is not applicable; information supporting (b)(3) can be found on pages 34-35.
Require all railroads to revise training and increase oversight to ensure that operating crews properly use restricted speeds. (R-21-02)
Information that addresses the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 1117(b), as applicable, can be found in section 2.3 Restricted Speed Accidents. Information supporting (b)(1) can be found in section 1.4 Events Leading Up to the Accident; information supporting (b)(2) can be found on page 36; (b)(3) is not applicable.
Director of Safety
BMWED – IBT
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