Rail unions turn to arbitration in dispute over BNSF rules

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — BNSF’s two largest unions will ask an arbitrator to throw out the railroad’s strict new attendance policy instead of appealing a court order preventing them from striking.

The unions say the policy pressures employees to show up when they are sick or fatigued.

The unions representing 17,000 BNSF workers said Wednesday they decided that arbitration will provide the quickest resolution to the dispute. The unions say the new rules that took effect Feb. 1 penalize employees for missing work for any reason and put them on call 24-7.

BNSF has defended the rules because it says they give employees a clearer idea of where they stand than the old system did while ensuring the railroad has enough workers available to operate its trains.

Categories: National News