Gillette WY system transfers

Captain Jack Sep 9, 2013

  1. Captain Jack

    Captain Jack New Member

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    Hi there, I just got sent a letter to take an entry level test for a conductor trainee position in Gillette, WY and was wondering if, on the off chance that I actually do get a job offer, how long does a person have to stay at there job hire location before they can put in for a transfer to another location? If I got hired on, do they even allow for transfers?
     
  2. cajon

    cajon TrainBoard Member

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    The ability to transfer depends alot on how much seniority you have built up. It'll probably take you 1-2 years to have enough to even think about it. And it also depends on where conductors are needed due to retirements, etc.
     
  3. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    I'm not sure where Gillette falls in terms of system seniority vs. closed seniority, but if you're slotted into the NH99 roster, you can bump anywhere you can hold on the system, other than the closed seniority district that generally encompasses former Great Northern lines. You'll be able to make that bump the day you mark up after completing conductor training. However, the position you accept may have a primary recall agreement in place, which would force you back to the terminal you hired out at in cases of manpower shortages. The company will force those subject to the recall agreement in reverse seniority order, so the lower your seniority, the more likely you will get recalled in the event of a manpower shortage. The only way I know to override the conductor primary recall agreement is to go through engineer training and be holding a position as an engineer at another terminal. As long as you're holding the seat as an engineer, they cannot recall you as a conductor.
     
  4. cajon

    cajon TrainBoard Member

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    rch
    Conductor run RCLs has changed alot of that in the yards. About 7 years ago saw my Barstow Yard hogger working as a conductor on the Boron local job out of Barstow. Even w/ about 10 years seniority, he got bumped. He had kept his conductor seniority by paying his conductor union dues. So he was able to stay "home" vs having to work out of LA or Needles.
     
  5. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "kept his conductor seniority by paying his conductor union dues." Perhaps it's different out west, but the way it works on the Texas Division, BNSF engineers can flow back to the ground whenever they choose to exercise their seniority (an exception being engineers at BN terminals). There are no separate union dues for conductors and engineers. BNSF engineers cannot flow back to the ground at former BN terminals unless their seniority prohibits them from being able to hold a position as an engineer, in which case they are free to exercise their seniority as a conductor or switchman.

    Now there are different unions, and you get a vote if you are a member of the union that negotiates with the company on behalf of your craft, but conductor seniority isn't dependent on which union you belong to. New hire conductor trainees are represented by and trained by members of the UTU, along with one or more company officials in a classroom setting. However, you can change unions whenever you wish, even go from one local to another within the same union.

    I am represented by the BLET. I have no vote when it comes to contracts that affect conductors, brakemen or switchmen. However, I am able to work in any of those positions without paying any separate or additional dues. Since I am an engineer I am generally more interested in engineer contracts than the conductor/switchman contracts, so it was in my best interest to switch from the UTU to the BLET. That being said, there are plenty of UTU engineers and BLET conductors out there, who forego the ability to vote for contracts that affect their respective craft, but who have chosen their union for a variety of reasons. It may be one union has cheaper dues than another or one local chapter has better chairmen who are skilled at representing their brothers and sisters.

    At the end of the day, the dues I pay to the BLET don't have any bearing on either my engine seniority or my conductor seniority. My conductor seniority date and my engine seniority date are in effect on their respective rosters as long as I am not a decertified employee. In the event that I become decertified for some reason, I can exercise my seniority as a yard helper or brakeman, which is the same date as my conductor date.
     
  6. cajon

    cajon TrainBoard Member

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    Well that was 13 years ago so don't remember the exact details, but that same engineer told me to keep my conductor status going by whatever means if I ever "got in the seat". :) We did get some PNW T&E back then because we needed them fast & they were available. They were all BN nee GN & NP.
     
  7. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    I had both engineer and conductor seniority but my overall seniority was my company/conductor seniority which began the first day I received compensation for service(as a student). My engineer seniority is a lot later than my conductor seniority but even at that when I completed my qualifying trips I already had about 10 people below me! I had to maintain both my conductor AND engineer seniority.I think that was a local agreement. Out of any given 4 year period, I had to take a major qualifying exam in 3 of them. I never did switch to the BLE(as it then was). We had a bunch of UTU engineers out of Aurora. The jobs all paid the same scales, no matter which union you belonged to. What I do know is that if I wanted to transfer as an engineer to another terminal, I probably would have "taken a bath" on my seniority.

    Charlie
     
  8. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Charlie, that's pretty similar to what I see today. BLE dues in my area are cheaper than the local UTU *and* we have a real bulldog for a local chairman, so there was no reason for me to stay with the UTU once I got my engine card. Now that everyone is certified, there is a process you have to go through each year to maintain your certification, including a stop test for engineers (banner, dark signal, etc.) as well as written exams.

    When it comes to seniority, BNSF is in many ways still BN and SF depending on where you are. BN engineers can transfer their seniority from the closed district in the Northwest, but only their engine date comes with them. They'd get their conductor date the first day they work the ground at the new system seniority terminal. Santa Fe engineers can transfer their seniority, but they go to the bottom of the engine roster at the new terminal, but they still keep their system seniority conductor date. It's a mess. I'm just glad I got my card where I plan on working and living a while.

    Oh, and I talked to a buddy last night who told me that Gillette is covered under the system seniority roster for conductors. So to answer the original poster, you can bump anywhere you can hold on the NH99 roster the day you mark up.
     

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