According to NS, the new agreement contains “meaningful improvements that will transform the conductor experience,” including:
- Technology-driven enhancements that offer all conductors scheduled days off and greater certainty around their weekly assignments.
- Tools and work-rule changes that provide greater transparency and flexibility to enjoy their vacation and other paid time off.
- Higher reimbursement for meals when away from home, and additional compensation when working weekends and spending time away from home.
- Up to seven days of paid sick leave, including five new paid sick days and the option to use two days of existing leave, to care for their personal well-being.
The tentative agreement, which is subject to member ratification, also satisfies the parties’ obligation to discuss scheduling enhancements and other related items that were part of last year’s national agreements, NS stated in a release. The agreement would go beyond those obligations, however, underscoring NS’s and SMART-TD’s “mutual commitment to holistically improve quality of life and enhance their shared team’s ability to safely deliver reliable and resilient service as a customer-centric, operations-driven organization.”
“This agreement underscores the progress we can make when SMART-TD and NS come together to improve the lives and workplace experience of our hard-working members,” SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson. “I want to thank NS for their partnership, and most importantly, our tireless SMART-TD leaders–Jim Ball, Tommy Gholson, David Phillips, Drew Evans, Brian Sharkey, and Jason Roberts – for working collaboratively to reach this extremely positive outcome for Norfolk Southern conductors.”
“I have a deep appreciation and respect for the contributions that my craft colleagues make to our company, our customers, and the U.S. economy,” said NS President and CEO Alan H. Shaw. “Coming out of national negotiations, we committed to taking a comprehensive look at quality of life at NS. With this agreement, we are leading the industry’s efforts to provide more predictable work and greater support for the wellbeing of our craft railroaders.”
“I am incredibly proud of the work we’ve done with our labor partners at SMART-TD to reach this landmark deal,” said NS Vice President, Labor Relations Wai Wong. “This agreement is the culmination of many honest, open discussions with our General Chairmen about our employees’ perspectives and priorities. I look forward to building on the foundation of trust we’ve laid as we continue working together to improve quality of life for our dedicated railroaders.”