By artegorov3@gmail @Adobe Stock

David Lassen of tells his readers that CEOs believe conditions are better now for the next round of labor negotiations. He writes:

A lot has happened, since Class I railroads averted a strike in 2022. CEOs and other officials at the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers Winter Meeting were happy to point to progress in labor relations.

Which is good, because — believe it or not — the whole national contract process is about to start all over again.

The problem with taking three years to navigate the convoluted, Byzantine negotiating process set by the Railway Labor Act is that the parties involved barely have time to catch their breath before resuming. The first official steps in the process begin in November; unofficial talks are already underway, said CSX CEO Joe Hinrichs.

“We’re having good discussions within the industry and with our union partners about how do we do it, how do we learn from what happened?” Hinrichs said. “It wasn’t good for our employees, it wasn’t good for our customers, it wasn’t good for our union partners, it wasn’t good for the companies. So I think, I hope, that we can learn from that.” […]

“I reached out to our labor leaders, the heads of all of our 12 labor unions, and I said, I want you to be part of this process,” he said. “And so the middle of last year, I penned a letter to all 20,000 Norfolk Southern employees that was cosigned by each one of our labor unions. … And so our craft colleagues have involved with this process from day one.” And when the report came out, Shaw said, the company not only publicized it on social media, but mailed a summary to every employee. “I said this is important,” Shaw said. “We are going to act on it. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Read more here.