Rail Union Head: Federal Panel Didn’t Go Far Enough In Addressing Working Conditions

    The head of the nation’s largest railroad union says recommendations from a special presidential panel designed to help resolve stalled contract talks with freight railroads are a good step but may not satisfy workers. 

    Jeremy Ferguson, president of the Transportation Division of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Union, calls the recommendations that include a 24% 5-year pay raise package a “vast improvement” over the railroads’ previous proposals but says they don’t do enough to address concerns about working conditions.

     Ferguson, whose union represents conductors, says “the recommendations do not go far enough to provide our members with the quality of life that they have earned, and that both they and their families deserve.”

    The railroads indicated earlier this week that they were ready to hammer out a deal based on the recommendations of the board appointed by President Joe Biden, but Ferguson’s comments yesterday – the first from any of the 12 railroad unions – suggest that the 115,000 workers they represent may not be ready to sign off.