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BNSF Union Proposes Workforce Changes

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 411

bnsf_logoSeveral employees expressed their dissatisfaction yesterday during a meeting of BNSF Union employees.

The General Committee of Adjustment from SMART held two meetings at the Labor Temple on Grand Avenue in Galesburg.  BNSF is Galesburg’s largest employer, but the union used the opportunity yesterday to review a union developed contract.

BNSF Union officials declined comment before telling WGIL to leave the Labor Temple.

One employee, who asked to remain anonymous, described the contract as akin to “cutting our own throats.”

Included in the proposal is a way to deal with what a memo in the contract describes as technology’s influence on the rail industry.  Because of this, the union has proposed altering the duties of conductors and ground service employees.

The memo states that the changes will mean more predictable work schedules. Several employees said they feared possible job losses due to the changes.

Those same employees claimed that General Chairperson Randall Knutson was describing the changes as inevitable in future years.

A letter enclosed in the documents employees received said they can no longer rely on old agreements or regulations.

BNSF did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.