October 23, 2013
By Stephanie West
The National Conference of Firemen and Oilers (NCFO) have notified the National Mediation Board (NMB), that the union is rejecting arbitration of its contract dispute with the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The dispute has dragged on for almost four years.
“All these years our members have provided service to the LIRR and have not received a wage increase,” charges NCFO President John Thacker. “It is simply unfair and unacceptable. Most of our members working on railroads across the United States have gotten well-deserved raises."
On October 18, 2013 the NMB called on both parties to subject the dispute to arbitration.
In further explaining the union’s rejection of that offer, NCFO Secretary-Treasurer Dean Devita noted that “This dispute has been exhausting and frustrating for our members who have been abused economically in these tough times. It needs to come to an end with a contract.”
But the LIRR, NCFO General Chairman James Farrigan points out, “has not bargained in good faith since January 1, 2010, and everybody from New York to Washington has taken notice.”
That’s when NCFO served a “Section Six Notice” to open the existing agreement for bargaining. NCFO and other union members received their last wage increase January 1, 2009.
The other members of the bargaining coalition, SMART (the United Transportation Union and the Sheet Metal Workers International Union) and the Transportation Communications Union have also rejected arbitration.
It is likely that a Presidential Emergency Board will be appointed to deal with the dispute.