1. KCS

    KCS E-Mail Bounces

    "Initiation and monthly dues required."

    I was out raged about BNSF and their terms and agreements about if you fail their test or refuse a postion bump your terminated.

    Now being this is from UP's list of job's from their site the above line was listed along with all the job requirments. Now my question is why initiation and montly dues? For what? Go to work for them and you have to pay them? It doesn't sound like a job or a railroad for that matter. It sounds more like a kiddie club house that you have to cough up a pack of gum to get in and bring something every month to stay in.

    I'm almost on the verge of giving up even trying to go to work for any railroad because of these BS terms they have. Seem's like they all have some kinda want or agreement that's absolutly FUBAR. Now why is this?
  2. topgoz

    topgoz TrainBoard Member

    My guess would be that the "initiation and monthly dues" are for the labor union, not the railroad. The labor agreements that the unions have with the railroad probably stipulate that all employees in eligible positions would be required to join the appropriate union.
  3. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman TrainBoard Member

    The types of labor agreements I know of are:

    Closed Shop: You must be a union member; you must pay union dues.

    Representative Shop: You do not have to be a union member; you must pay union dues (because the union represents you for pay rates).

    Open Shop. You do not have to be a union member; you do not have to pay union dues.

    In the representative shop, the union can bargain with the company to have the company with hold your dues from your pay. This is probably the situation that you have. Many companies do this and I don't think it is unusual.
  4. Scott Stutzman

    Scott Stutzman TrainBoard Member

    Those are Union dues and initiation fees they are refering to. Most RR jobs are Union jobs.
  5. Adam Woods

    Adam Woods TrainBoard Member

    Have you ever wondered why it is called "getting railroaded", I think it might be getting clearer.
  6. KCS

    KCS E-Mail Bounces

    Hmmmm. Well, as for the union I can understand that but I was warned by many people to stay away and avoid the union if at all possibe. What's all the hub bub about th union then?
  7. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman TrainBoard Member

    Be Careful

    I will tell you that you are possibly on the edge of a very passionate discussion that might be better suited for the Cattle Car. It is very difficult to discuss the union without having a strong opinion one way or the other. Those who disagree with either point of view can sometimes use very strong language.

    It is akin to asking which political party you should join. It is difficult to be neutral. You can make up your own mind after hearing different views.

    CHARGER TrainBoard Member

    Want to work for a Railroad and not pay union dues? Get a college degree and work in Management, that way not only will you dislike your job, but the people who work for you will dislike you too! ;)

  9. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    The flip side today of working in a "non-union" shop is that most of this kind of employment is "at will," which essentially means an employee can be released/dismissed/fired/canned/so on at any time, for any reason (or for no reason). Non-managerial positions which involve contracts (and their attendant guarantees) tend to be union. While I really don't have a position one way or another on this particular issue, I will say that there is a tradeoff involved in terms of job security/protections against some level of support for an organization you may or may not agree with.
  10. KCS

    KCS E-Mail Bounces

    Well, in that case, count me out for ever working for the railroad. Trucking is much better job wise even though trains are still fun on all levels.
  11. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    Yes the "initiation and mothly dues" are for your union. If you are in an
    operating department craft, ie. trainman,engineman,yardmaster you will be required to join a union,while the railroad hires you,the carrier contracts with the union to provide the time and services of x number of employees. You CANNOT be in a operating craft without joining the union. Another poster has given you options about non-union railroad jobs.
    Let me tell you one thing, were it not for the brotherhoods(unions) the
    carriers would work their operating employees until they quite literally
    dropped from exhaustion. This may sound like hyperbole to those of you
    who are on the "outside", but let me tell you, it's the truth! Every swingin' richard of a railroader will tell you stories about getting out on
    their rest every 8 hours for days and weeks on end until they either lay
    off sick or luck into a rest day. And YES it does happen frequently, more
    than you ever care to know. As I have said before, if you want the "Romance of the Rails", read the foamer magazines or buy the foamer videos.
    We just had a major winter storm go through Chicago just the other day
    We got 4-12 inches of snow depending where you were in the area. It started off as rain,then freezing rain,then sleet and then all snow. It gave me the shakes when I thought about it and that I was glad I was
    retired. I worked in weather like that all too often EVERY winter. Try climbing on and staying on an ice coated freight car to ride it or tie down or knock off hand brakes, chop out the ice and packed snow of
    a few switches or stumble thru knee deep snow inspecting your train to
    discover where a hot box or dragging equipment is.
    You dont want a union job??? You want to stay warm and cushy? You want to have holidays off to be with the family? You want to sleep in your own bed every night??? Then for sure DONT go railroading.
    And NO the good days dont make up for the bad ones, there are too many more bad days!

    And FINALLY...

    I was STRONGLY anti-union most of my adult working life. I changed my
    tune once I was out of work because of "at will" employment. I was on the street too daggone many times due to strikes and with a wife and kids to clothe and feed and a mortgage to pay. Then the airline thought they were gonna fire me on trumped up charges. My lawyer told them the "facts of life". Suddenly the Division V.P. changes his tune, I resign with a generous settlement and they dont get sued.
    I realized I didn't want to put up with that crap any longer. I realized that unions had something to offer. I still am a member(retired) of the
    UTU. OH and guess what?? The department I was in(when I was non-management)with the airline is now unionized. Poetic justice?

    Rant over

  12. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

    I don't know where you get the idea that trucking is a much better job. Plenty of truckers that I talk to ask me how hard it is to get on with the railroad. Truckers taking their CDL's at DMV all complain about the same thing. Companies lack of concern for employees. Owner Operators working themselves to the bone competing with cut rate drivers. It's a dog eat dog world out there and transportation in any form is like that.

    Greg Elems
    27 yrs seniority UP
    17 yrs engineer UP

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