More Good Organizing News This Labor Day Weekend: 46 Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad Employees Vote To ‘Go Union’ With The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail And Transportation Workers
Latest In A String Of A Dozen Successful Organizing Drives Carried Out By SMART’s Transportation Division – Union Reps Tell WNYLaborToday.com Non-Represented Workers Want A Union For “Better Workplace Conditions” & A “‘Voice’ On The Job”
(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) – The latest organizing victory for the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) involves 46 Employees of the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad (BPRR) who’ve voted to Go Union with the National Labor Organization, SMART Representatives tell WNYLaborToday.com this Labor Day Weekend.
A successful ratification vote - the results of which were certified by the National Mediation Board (NMB) on August 30th - adds 36 Maintenance of Way and 10 Signalmen to SMART Local 377, which is headquartered in the State of Pennsylvania.
The Maintenance of Way and Signalmen join 98 Engineers, Conductors and Brakemen employed by BPRR who are already represented by Local 377, according to SMART Transportation Division Organizer Larry Grutzius.
“We’ve had a bunch of ‘successful’ drives over the past (18 months) that have brought in close to seven hundred new Members,” Grutzius tells Your On-Line Labor Newspaper. “Some are coming for ‘better’ wages and benefits, but ‘most’ are coming to ‘improve’ their workplace conditions. They’ve been ‘mistreated’ (on the job) and there’s been a ‘lack of respect.’”
The Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad, acquired by holding company Genesee & Wyoming back in 1988, is a 368-mile regional railroad that serves Western New York and Western Pennsylvania. It connects with such major railroads as Canadian Pacific, CSX and Norfolk Southern. The BPRR is a Class II railroad that operates on 411 miles of track and is owned by Genesee and Wyoming Rail Road. Its main line runs between Buffalo and Eidenau, Pennsylvania, just north of Pittsburgh. The railroad connects the Allegheny Valley Railroad and runs on the former Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) railroad tracks. Major commodities shipped by the railroad include paper, petroleum products, chemicals, coal, steel and sand.
“At BPRR, it ‘wasn’t about the money,’” Grutzius tells WNYLaborToday.com. “They were ‘not’ Union and they were working ‘without’ a contract. They had a ‘some sort of handshake agreement’ (with management),’ but they ‘weren’t going anywhere.’ That’s ‘why’ they ‘wanted’ Union representation. The ‘power and control’ was ‘with the company,’ which was ‘unilaterally changing conditions.’ (The Workers) wanted to ‘take back power for themselves.’”
SMART Transportation Division’s Director of Organizing Rich Ross, who thanked Grutzius “for all his hard work” on the more than five-month BPRR Organizing Campaign, said in a telephone interview with WNYLaborToday.com: “(The Workers) came to (SMART) for help. They’re a ‘good bunch of guys, but it’s a tough industry to work in.’ They wanted ‘safer’ working conditions and ‘what they wanted’ - they ‘just weren’t getting it.’ The company ‘just wasn’t treating them with the respect they deserved.’”
The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers is one of North America’s most dynamic and diverse Unions with 216,000 Members, who produce and provide the vital services that move products to market, passengers to their destinations and ensure the quality of the air that we all breathe.
SMART is Sheet Metal Workers, Service Technicians, Bus Operators, Engineers, Conductors, Sign Workers, Welders, Production Employees, to name just a few.
With members in scores of different occupations, SMART advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence at work and opportunity for all Working Families.
For More on This Labor News Story, Go to: https://smart-union.org/news/bprr-employees-vote-smart-td/