GXB Free Day Claim

Attached is a claim template for laying off on the extra board and being docked guarantee.  CMS has made up the term "free day".  Under our agreement an extra board employee is entitled to one layoff not to extend more than 24 hours per half and only be docked their bonus day

If CMS denies your free day and/or you lay off non compensated you should only lose your bonus day. 


You still have to fall under the parameters that:

  • Only one 24 hour layoff
  • you can't be first out while laying off
  • the lay off has to be between Monday 0001 and Thursday 2359


Let me know if you are denied this claim as soon as possible.

File attachments: 
PDF icon Free Day.pdf30.95 KB

Drone Testing


  By now I am sure most of you are aware of the testing taking place with the drones. They are temporally stopped until Thursday, The Local Chairman are meeting with the Supt to discuss the guidelines and restrictions with this type of testing. We will let everyone know what develops on Thursday. 
  In the mean time if you have any specific concerns please let your local chairman know so we are able to address them with the service unit staff. 

Denny D’s Did You Know - PTC & Form B’s

I spoke with an engineer yesterday who told me of a potential hazard to be aware of with PTC and Form B’s.


The Form B was close to the expiration time as they were approaching. They had passed the yellow-red flag and also had a crossing protection order just prior to the limits. As they were protecting the crossing the expiration time arrived and the red hash box in front of them disappeared from the PTC screen. They still called the foreman and got their clearance. 


I’m not sure if the foreman enters something into his computer that interacts with the PTC system or if it only recognizes the time frame. This is a quick way for someone to get in trouble. Two critical items to deal with at the same time, both of which missing could result in a decertification. 


Don’t let the distraction of the PTC screen get you in trouble. With all of the distractions we now have at the control stand it can be very difficult to stay focused on the task at hand.

Information on Proposed Agreement Ratification

Brothers and Sisters of the BLET Central Region,

I attended a meeting in Cleveland where the current tentative agreement was reviewed by all the BLET General Chairmen.  I supported the National President's decision to put this agreement before the membership for a ratification vote.  I want you to be informed when your ballots arrive so I will lay out the facts in an attempt to help you make an informed decision.

If we vote against the proposed agreement, please understand that all previous offers, including, but not limited to, the tentative agreement are off the negotiating table. We will be assigned a Presidential Emergency Board by the President of the United States.  The parties will start with their original positions.

I have a link to PEB 219 so you can see how the Carrier's told the board that their employees are overpaid and how they needed changes in work rules to compete with the trucking industry.  Please take the time to read this PEB, you can read for yourself how the Carrier’s tried to justify freezing our wages and gaining work rule concessions in PEB 219.


You will also find where "cost sharing" became part of your healthcare package among other changes.

Changes could also be made that standardize some our local agreements that bring all Engineers under the same National Agreement. 

Currently, our General Committee has one of the best vacation allocation agreements in the rail industry. 

We are one of two General Committees that do not have to qualify for Personal Leave Days. (Just be marked up and in OK status)

We are the only General Committee that can bank 200 Personal Leave Days for retirement or emergencies. 

Our General Committee has also obtained lodging for engineers forced over 100 miles from their home terminal. 

Our General Committee has in place arbitration awards backed by a court decision that prohibit the Union Pacific from using Article IX to modify the runs that were agreed to in the Hub negotiations.

We have fought hard for these agreements, awards and court decisions.  

Lots of misinformation out in the field right now.  

Below is the definition of a PEB.  I made the last paragraph bold for a reason.  I do not want the Congress to write our agreement; they know nothing about railroading.  


1. What is a PEB?

Presidential Emergency Board

If either labor or management decline voluntary arbitration, or if in the opinion of the NMB the continuance of the controversy threatens substantially to interrupt interstate commerce in any section of the nation, the NMB is required to notify the President of the United States, who may, at his discretion, create a fact-finding Presidential Emergency Board.

The parties must maintain the status quo (no strikes or lockouts) for 30 days. If the president chooses not to appoint an emergency board, strikes or lockouts may occur after the 30-day cooling-off period.

Emergency boards are comprised of neutral members whose job is to make an investigation and submit to the president, within 30 days of its creation, a fact-finding report with non-binding recommendations for procedures or terms on which a dispute might be settled. During this period, the parties must maintain the status quo (a second 30-day cooling-off period).

Upon submission of the PEB report, the parties are required to maintain the status quo for an additional, or third 30-day cooling-off period (they may mutually agree to extend the period of status quo). The non-binding recommendations of the PEB are expected to carry the weight of public opinion and induce a voluntary agreement among the parties.

At this point, the RLA has run its course. If no agreement has been reached, either side becomes free to act in its own economic interests -- a work stoppage (or strike) by labor, a lockout by management, or unilateral implementation of management proposals (that generally would force a work stoppage).

However, Congress frequently imposes its own settlement. Such congressional action is not part of the RLA. The constitutional authority for Congress to impose its own settlements is found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution's commerce clause.


Below is a quote from Referee Robert Harris.  

Arbitrator Robert O. Harris told the United Transportation Union (UTU) and railroads in 1991, then unable to agree at the bargaining table, “Welcome to the oldest established craps game in Washington. Like the suckers in ‘Guys and Dolls,’ you are risking your futures on the roll of the dice [when you fail to make a voluntary agreement].” This was from a copy of Railway Age. 


I hope you find this informative and useful.


Ronnie Rhodes



BLET General Chairman


Health Care Open Enrollment

For those that choose to use the online open enrollment you can also enroll in the FSA at the same time. If you have any questrions ask your Local Chairman.... 

Online at: https://www.yourtracktohealth.com/

What Auto Scan Looks For

File attachments: 
PDF icon eqm_auto_scan_formula_details.pdf56.97 KB

Denny D’s Did You Know Davis Jct.



At Davis Jct. On the the Desoto Sub, there are always questions about the proper procedure for entering the main track off of the Lesperence Industrial Lead. There are times when you may need to hand operate the spring switch prior and it is imperative that the proper procedure is followed . Proper understanding of a few rules will help to clear up some of the confusion. While the focus is going to be for a trailing move through the spring switch, a review of what to do with a facing point move will also be good refresher for all of us.


Facing Point


Main to Main: The indication of the block signal at 9.8 is what is going to determine whether you need to hand operate the switch. At any spring switch, you must test the switch by operating it back in forth under the following conditions. If the block signal is a restricted proceed or dark, or if the switch indicator is red or dark. The reason for the red signal or indicator could very well be because the switch is gapped.


Main to Industrial Lead: Obviously you must hand operate the switch to leave main. However, there is another often overlooked rule that applies. Item 10K in the SSI states that the crew must have a job briefing when hand operating a main track switch. The part of 10K that refers to initialing the Conductors log only applies in non-signaled territory. The main track here is TWC/ABS, so this would be not be required. However, GCOR 14.7 says that if you use a hand operated switch to clear the main track, you must notify the dispatcher that the switch is lined and locked normal. 


Trailing Point


There are four rules in the GCOR that must be looked at to properly understand the procedure to enter the main track off of the Lesperence Industrial Lead. The procedure to follow is going to be determined by the type of track warrant you have, work-between or proceed.


9.12 - Stop Signal


The signal a Davis Jct. on the Industrial Lead is an absolute signal. If it is red, regardless of whether you have to follow the 5 minute wait or not, it is a Stop Signal and you must still stop first. GCOR 9.12 tells us what to do at a Stop signal. Since this is ABS territory and you are on an other track, 9.12.4 C refers us to 9.17. Entering the Main Track at a Hand operated switch.


9.17 - Entering the Main Track at a Hand Operated Switch


In ABS territory you must first operate the switch and wait 5 minutes prior to entering the main track. During the 5 minute wait, the conductor must remain at the switch and alert. If a train approaches, the switch must be lined back for that train. In TWC/ABS trains operating in the same direction can have the same or overlapping limits and operate at maximum speed because they are protected by block signals. This why the delayed in block rule in ABS is restricted speed until you can see the next signal and the track to that signal. A train could’ve waited the required 5 minutes and may have entered the main track ahead of you. The proceed signal you see through the trees may be for a short train that entered the block ahead of you.


As a side note, if you are entering the main track using the crossover at Ivory Yard, you must first operate the crossover switch your train is on and wait 5 minutes before operating the main track switch. Another 5 minute wait is not necessary. 



8.9.3 B - Hand Operating a Spring Switch Before Making a Trailing Movement 


With the switch at Davis Jct. being a spring switch, the procedure for establishing and maintaining block signal protection is different than a normal hand operated switch. Stop before the signal. Line the switch. After the 5 minute wait, the engine will need to pull beyond the signal and stop short of the switch. The conductor will then return the switch to the normal position, lined for the main. The will maintain your block signal protection.


9.12 A - When Hand Operation of a Spring Switch or 5 Minute Wait Is Not Required


There are some exceptions to the 5 minute wait and being required to hand operate the spring switch. This is why it is critical to pay attention to the type of track warrant you have. I have only included the exceptions that would apply at Davis Jct.


  1. The signal is a proceed indication. If the signal is a restricting and you have a track warrant, you do not have to stop or hand operate the switch. Don’t forget that you are at restricted speed until you go by the next signal. If your track warrant is not affect until after the arrival of another train, do not go until you have verbally verified that the train has passed. Also do not overlook that you may have joint limits. If it is with a person, you must get permission to enter the limits or be notified by the dispatcher that the person has reported clear. If they have reported clear you must still operate at restricted speed within the entire joint limits.


  1. The block is still occupied by a train that is moving away from the switch.


  1. A Work Between Track Warrant. The signal will still put you at restricted speed. However, a work between does not automatically put you at restricted. If two trains have the same limits with a work between, they will have a joint track warrant and will be operating at restricting speed. It is important to note that this exception is specific to work between track warrant. You could have a proceed track warrant with joint limits. This exception would not apply in that circumstance.


The key to remembering when to Hand operate and wait the 5 minutes is the type of track warrant you have. With a proceed track warrant you will need to line and wait unless you meet one of the exceptions. With a work between you do not. Do not forget that the signal is still an absolute signal. Even though you may not have to operate the switch and wait 5 minutes, you must still stop first.


8.9.4 - During Snow or Ice Storms

One last rule to make note of is 8.9.4. If there is a snow or ice storm the gap may be packed full of snow or the switch components may be covered in ice. This could cause damage to the switch when trailing through a spring switch. In this circumstance you will need to hand operate the switch.



Although it can be a bit confusing at times, following these tips will help to keep you rules compliant at Davis Jct.