The Union and the Company completed the fifth day in bargaining on August 12th, 2022. We have agreed to 30 separate Tentative Agreements (TAs) so far. The Union has made some advancements on non-economic proposals and, on Friday, gave the Employer our opening wages and benefits package.
You wouldn’t believe the amount of disdain the Company officials had for the Union proposals. The Union opened with over a $10 across-the-board wage offer over 3 years, in hopes of bringing the lowest paid in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, and elsewhere up to the $15/hour mark with significant boosts to drivers in all other parts of the US, with a first year increase at $6.75/hour. The Union bargaining committee is fully aware that all drivers will need to be engaged in the fight to get any significant increases.
The boss’s comments in response to the Union initial wage offer included: “Without exaggeration, is your goal to bankrupt this company?” The Union responded, “We have no idea what you are talking about given the fact that Hallcon does not share its financials with the Union.” The Union committee continues to invite the UE to attend bargaining with the railroad. Hallcon continues to remain silent on the subject.
“This union believes the entire industry needs to have its wages pulled up, and the railroads must pay,” said Nandell Baines, Local 977 bargaining committee member from Houston, TX. “They started calling us crazy for asking for what we believe members deserve. They are the ones that are not right,” she added.
As the Company continued to complain about the Union’s wages and benefits proposal, they asked, “Don’t we even get credit for the raises we gave the last two years?” We stated that the raises Hallcon gave outside of the contract over the last 2 years were dollars given by the railroads, so it was a pass through of Hallcon. Hallcon never mentioned how many millions more they received. The Company never bargained with the Union over the amounts or who should get what raises. We fully intend to do that now.
For the first time, the Union advanced a new proposal for pay steps based on years of service that give between 2-5% more for employees with years of service. The Union advanced a new vacation schedule and increased PTO accruals, while the boss exclaimed, “When are the employees ever going to work?” The Union pushed back hard on Hallcon officials who have mostly stayed home during the pandemic as evidenced by their comments about restroom access, stating, “Why don’t they just go to the nearest store?” as they refused (so far) to deal with the fact that the railroads actively control drivers day to day. The Union is demanding the Company step up and deal with the railroad more proactively on a host of issues.
The Union and Company have five scheduled days for bargaining: August 17th, 25th, 30th, 31st, and September 1st. The contract expires at 11:59 pm on September 1st, 2022.
The Union is calling on all drivers across the country to prepare to fight to make Hallcon jobs livable wage jobs. “We have never had a better climate than now,” said Diana Martinez, Local 1077 bargaining committee member. “Our rent, food and gas has all gone up significantly. All of us drivers deserve significant increases,” she added.
“We will be bannering central and southern California August 22nd-24th in various places in the state,” said Vincent Graves, Local 1077 bargaining committee member. “We will be raising awareness of our fight, getting members involved and asking for their support.”
The Union is organizing bannering events in Chicago, IL; Belen, NM; and Houston, TX. If you want to participate, please contact a contract support committee member in your area.