MISSOURI STATE LEGISLATIVE BOARD

DIRECTOR: KENNETH R. MENGES    Assistant Director: JASON R. HAYDEN                                            Chairman: Gerald Wohlgemuth    V. Chairman: Curt Jones    Secretary: Chris Skaggs                                                        



LIRR/MTA refuse to Negotiate - 7/16/2014

International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Long Island Rail Road General Chairperson Anthony Simon has issued the following statement on the deteriorating labor situation at the commuter railroad:

 

“I regret to report that negotiations have collapsed with New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and all eight unions are now proceeding with strike plans for July 20. MTA rejected the counter offer we presented last Thursday (July 10). It presented no counter proposal. It continues to insist that the unions agree to a contract worth less than the value of the compromise recommendations of Presidential Emergency Boards 244 and 245.  MTA has clearly decided that provoking a strike is the course of action it intends to pursue. No further negotiations are scheduled. 

Please go here to ask NY Governor Cuomo to intervene in order to prevent a strike that would be disastrous to Long Island commuters, workers and local communities.

The strike will begin at 12:01 a.m. this Sunday (July 20). Riders should be aware that service will begin winding down well before then, perhaps as early as Wednesday (July 16), as the railroad needs to secure its equipment.  The strike will be limited to Long Island Rail Road. It will not affect Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Metro-North Railroad or PATH rail operations. Joint entrances will not be picketed.

Make no mistake about it. The timing of this strike, with its devastating impact on Long Island’s summer season, is MTA’s decision. The unions repeated our offer to agree to the requests of the New York Congressional delegation, area residents and businesses to delay the strike until September. MTA would not agree.  The onus of this deadlock is solely on the MTA. Two boards of renowned and experienced arbitrators have recommended a fair compromise settlement. We are willing to accept the recommendations. MTA is not. MTA admitted to us that they know that historically, the PEB recommendations are the basis for settlement. They told us they understand that the only way they can break this historical precedent is to take a strike. That is the course that they have chosen.”

-          Anthony Simon, SMART LIRR GO 505 General Chairperson and Union Coalition spokesperson

 

Please go here to ask NY Governor Cuomo to intervene in order to prevent a strike that would be disastrous to Long Island commuters, workers and local communities.

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Help #StrikeADeal - 7/12/2014

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) took to Twitter this morning  to attempt a Twitter-Storm against the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) unions, tagged #strikeadeal.

What commuters don't know is that the MTA doesn't want a deal. If it did,  it would have accepted two Presidential Emergency Board decisions that found that what Unions are asking for is reasonable.

By letting negotiations collapse time and time again, the MTA forced the Presidential Emergency Boards to get involved.  These impartial boards, composed of arbitrators appointed by Presidents Clinton, Obama and even George W. Bush ruled against what MTA management hoped for.  Rather than accept the findings, the MTA is pushing Long Island commuters and workers to the brink with its gamesmanship. 

It’s time for MTA management to accept reality and accept the findings of the Presidential Emergency Boards.    The LIRR Unions have already compromised and agreed to accept the findings of the Presidential Emergency Boards.  A coalition of Democratic and Republican state and federal leaders are already standing with the workers and calling on the MTA to accept reality,   If the MTA cannot, it’s time for Governor Cuomo to step in and save Long Island residents from what will become an unnecessary and disastrous strike.

You can help right now.  Jump on the MTA hashtag at #StrikeADeal and tell them to accept the findings of two Presidential Emergency Boards.  You can also share this action to ask the Governor to intervene before it’s too late
.

 

Some sample tweets:

.@MTA Unions already compromised and accepted the PEB recommendations.  What are you waiting for? #StrikeADeal

If the @MTA continues to push a strike, @NYGovCuomo must intervene to #StrikeADeal.  http://bit.ly/1w5jHnk

Two Presidential Emergency Boards ruled against @MTA and sided with workers.  Time to #StrikeADeal http://bit.ly/1w5jHnk

Time for @NYGovCuomo to intervene, #StrikeADeal to stop .@MTA management from pushing strikeUnions/Commuters don’t wanthttp://bit.ly/1w5jHnk

You can also follow us at @SMARTUnionWorks on Twitter.

Don't forget to contact Governor Cuomo at this link and ask him to intervene on behalf of Long Island workers, commuters and communities. 

 

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Mo. Supreme Court rules FELA awards not taxable - 7/11/2014

Mo. Supreme Court rules FELA awards not taxable

In cases brought by the law firm of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP of St. Louis on behalf of injured railroad workers, two courts have ruled favorably to workers that FELA judgments are not subject to tax withholding under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA).

The Missouri Supreme Court in Mickey v. BNSF Railway Co., No. SC93591 (July 8, 2014), available here, stopped a trend of state supreme court rulings that had held FELA judgments for injured railroad workers received less than the full amount the jury awarded them.

In a detailed opinion, the Missouri Supreme Court explained that the contrary decisions of the Nebraska and Iowa courts were based on an incomplete analysis of the law, and that under a proper analysis of the law FELA judgments are not subject to tax withholding, but must be paid in full.

This decision comes one day after the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri also ruled that FELA judgments are not subject to RRTA taxes (Cowden v. BNSF Railway Co., No. 08-1534, Doc. 289 (E.D.Mo. July 7, 2014)).

The decisions in Mickey, which involved a BNSF railroad employee from St. Louis, Mo., and Cowden, which involved a BNSF railroad employee from Springfield, Mo., (both of which were handled by Schlichter Bogard & Denton) should end the railroads’ recent attempts to short-change employees of the personal injury damages juries have awarded them with this now twice-repudiated, tax argument.

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BAD NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL IN JEFF - 7/9/2014

Brothers and Sisters,

 

My BLET counterpart Brian Kelly and I, with the cooperation and assistance of the railroad lobbyists and two of their public affairs directors, worked diligently to get a driver's license bill moved through the legislative hurdles at the Capitol during the 2014 Regular Session of the Missouri General Assembly.  HB 1305 (attached) made it through two committees and passed on the House floor with no amendments added along the way.  The bill was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee and that is where things took a turn for the worse.  The Chairman offered up a Senate Committee Substitute (SCS) which is also attached.  This took our the bill from being one paragraph on one page to seven pages long.  The SCS passed out of his committee but was DOA when it hit the Senate Floor calendar.

 

With the bill now stalled and time running out we were fortunate, we thought, to find another vehicle to get our language amended to.  This was HB1707 (attached).  It passed both houses and was sent to the governor for his consideration on May 30th.  He had 45 days to consider the bill and take action if he so deemed.  On July 7th, just a few days prior to the deadline for consideration, we received two calls from the Governor's staff informing us that he was going to veto HB 1707 due to a drafting error in the bill that was truly agreed upon and finally passed.  They said he had no choice and that he would have supported our provision had it not been part of this bill.  Please find also attached his veto letter with the explanation for his decision.

 

Nothing is ever simple in politics but we will give it another try next year.

 

 

Ken Menges

SMART - Missouri State Legislative Director

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SMART announces convention deadlines - 7/9/2014

International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers General Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Sellers has announced the following important deadlines for the union’s First SMART General Convention Aug. 11-15 in Las Vegas.

Duplicate credentials must be mailed to the office of the general secretary-treasurer at 1750 New York Ave., Washington, DC 20006 no later than Tuesday, July 15.

Amendments and resolutions by union locals or councils must be submitted separately by subject matter in resolution form and filed in triplicate with the general secretary-treasurer’s office no later than Friday, July 11.

Online registration for all delegates and guests must be completed by July 15 at http://www.cvent.com/d/z4qs82.

The deadline for making hotel reservations at Caesars Palace ?in Las Vegas is Monday, July 21. Delegates and guests should call (866) 227-5944.

View the memorandum from General Secretary-Treasurer Sellers here.

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Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/09/29/4518593/obamacare-a-primer.html#storylink=cpy

 

WASHINGTON – A final rule on improved locomotive cab safety and comfort has been published by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The final rule, affecting all new and remanufactured locomotives in road and yard service, follows collaboration among the FRA, rail labor and carriers through the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) process and becomes effective June 8. To read full article click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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