May 28, 2022
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Railroads fight with unions in court over vaccine mandates

Railroads fight with unions in court over vaccine mandates

BNSF railroad filed a lawsuit Sunday in opposition to its main unions over its mandate. It joins Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific, which each filed comparable lawsuits in opposition to the unions final month. The unions, which have filed a few of their very own lawsuits in response, argue that the railroads ought to have negotiated with them earlier than imposing their mandates.

The railroads which have imposed vaccine mandates say they’re complying with President Joe Biden’s govt order requiring all federal contractors to have their staff vaccinated. The railroads usually are not alone in dealing with resistance to vaccine mandates. Related guidelines have generated disputes in a wide range of workplaces.

BNSF stated in its lawsuit that it repeatedly updates its necessities for employees when federal rules change, so the vaccine mandate needs to be no totally different. BNSF stated the unions do not dispute when it adjustments drug testing guidelines, they usually did not fight it earlier this yr when the railroad imposed a masks mandate after the Federal Railroad Administration ordered it.

“BNSF has a long-standing and well-settled past practice of unilaterally changing its rules and policies governing position requirements, medical standards, and safety in response to lawful federal government directives,” the railroad stated in its lawsuit.

The railroads have stated that staff shall be disciplined in the event that they fail to conform with the vaccine mandate.

“The non-negotiated bonuses and unilateral decision to discipline employees who are not vaccinated functioned to undermine the collectedly-bargained agreements and reduce Norfolk Southern’s obligations under those agreements,” the Sheet Metallic, Air, Rail and Transportation Employees — Transportation Division, or SMART-TD, union stated in its response to Norfolk Southern.

Leaders of the SMART-TD union and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen have stated they typically assist employees getting vaccinated, however they do not assume the railroads ought to require it with out negotiating first.

Federal judges have but to rule on any of those lawsuits associated to the railroads’ vaccine necessities.

BNSF, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific are three of the biggest U.S. railroads. Spokeswomen for 2 different main main U.S. railroads, CSX and Kansas Metropolis Southern, stated officers at these railroads are nonetheless contemplating whether or not to impose vaccine mandates in response to the manager order, however each railroads are encouraging staff to get the photographs.

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