(Tulsa, Okla.) – Eighteen workers at RailCrew Xpress represented by Teamsters Local 523 in Tulsa, Okla. unanimously approved their first contract, making strong gains in workplace rules and securing a new compensation structure that will help significantly increase their annual wages.
Negotiations for the three-year agreement took more than a year as the union negotiating committee and management clashed over wage increases. Despite enlisting the help of a mediator, the two sides were unable to reach a compromise on wages. However, the union was able to secure the right to reopen negotiations for wages after one year.
“While we were not able to settle on wage increases, this first contract makes many crucial gains in workplace rules including a strong grievance procedure,” said Gary Ketchum, President of Teamsters Local 523. “The additional gains that we negotiated that impact compensation could increase the average workers’ wages by 9-10 percent over the course of a year.”
Prior to this contract, the RailCrew Xpress workers were only paid when transporting rail crews to their job. Under the new rules, the 18 Teamsters are paid whenever they are performing duties associated with a job, whether its fueling or maintaining their vehicle before or after the transport or during any downtime waiting to pick up rail crews for transport.
“Our members are pleased with this first contract,” Ketchum said. “It was through our negotiating committee’s hard work and unwavering faith that we were able to bring a strong first contract to these workers. Committee members like Gaylord Ferrell were invaluable assets during these long negotiations. I look forward to reopening this contract in a year to negotiate the type of wage increase our members deserve.”
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information, go to www.teamster.org or follow us on Twitter @TeamsterPower.