Judge Grants Railway Restraining Order To Stop Workers Strike Over Attendance Policy

A rail company is upset enough that its workers want to strike over a terrible attendance policy that it went to a judge to block the union, temporarily, from striking.

The Forth Worth Star-Telegram reports:

“A U.S. district court judge on Tuesday granted Fort Worth-based rail company BNSF a temporary restraining order blocking two of its unions from striking.

District Court Judge Mark Pittman said his order does not decide whether the dispute between the railway and its unions is a “major” or ‘minor’ dispute in the eyes of the law. A ruling on that distinction would have determined whether a potential strike would be legal. Instead, the decision reflects that BNSF is more likely to win its larger dispute with its two unions, Pittman wrote.

The court order said a strike would cause the rail company ‘substantial, immediate and irreparable harm.’

The order also requires the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers to prevent their membership from striking.

The two unions, which represent roughly 17,000 railroad workers, threatened to strike starting Feb. 1 over an availability policy they say will separate workers from their families.

Under the new system, every conductor and engineer gets 30 points. If a railroad worker wants to take time off, they get points deducted from that total.

Different days are given different point values. Being unavailable to work Monday to Thursday is a two-point deduction. Being unavailable on a Friday or Saturday is a four-point deduction. Missing a Sunday costs three points.

A worker can earn four points back by being available to work for 14 days in a row including weekends. However, the 14-day clock resets if a worker takes a day off.”

For the rest of the story, visit the Fort Worth Star-Telegram here.


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