Furloughed Employees Q & A

If you are furloughed Trainman and H&W contributions have been taken out of your vacation pay. You may contact the Union Pacific at 1-402-544-4729 to receive a refund for this deduction.

Q: How many employees is the Union Pacific planning on furloughing?

A: By the last estimate given to me by Manpower, 111. System wide there is over 2,500 employees out of work.

Q: How long is this going to last?

A: The last estimate by the carrier is 6 to 8 months. But this is all tied into the recession and the car loadings that the carrier has.

Q: How will I be notified to return to work?

A: CMS will notify you when it is time to return to work. You will have at least 2 weeks notice so you may provide proper notice to your current employer.

Q: How long does my insurance stay active?

A: 4 months after your last month that you worked 7 starts. Example: you worked 7 starts in the month of November; you insurance will lapse at the end of March.

Q: Is unemployment and option?

A: Yes. If you qualify, you may collect Railroad Retirement Unemployment benefits of $59 per day. To see if you qualify call 1-877-772-5772. If you do not qualify you will have to file for IL State unemployment.

Q: Have they started to furlough in the Yard?

A: As of now, no. But they may at any time. There has been some talk that the carrier wishes to furlough in the yard. They have currently begun cutting back regular assignments.

Q: Are my union dues still taken out each month?

A: No, you are in “E49” status and no dues are paid until you return to work. No back dues are owed by the employee once you return.

Q: There is an AWTS option on the phone when I call CMS. Is this an option in this area?

A: No, An AWTS agreement has not been negotiated in this area. The Pros and Cons are being weighed out and unfortunately the Cons outweigh the benefits of this board. The only good thing that this board would do is keep your benefits going along with Railroad Retirement payments. The fact is that you would be reduced to a part-time employee and receive 25% of the guarantee. You would be paying 100% of an all of you deductions such as Union dues and insurance payments.

Q: Aren’t these boards in place everywhere on the system except here?

A: There are only a couple of places that have AWTS boards. These areas are being reduced and the AWTS boards will also be cut drastically as more people are furloughed. The carrier will soon end these boards soon.

Q: How will AWTS boards affect the extra boards in place now?

A: The carrier would supplement the extra boards with the AWTS boards. They would consider that is cheaper to pay an employee 8 days of a guarantee rather than 30 so they will in turn place more people on the AWTS boards and cut even deeper into the roster making more full-time employees into part-time employees.

Q: Is the AWTS boards being looked into in this area?

A: Yes, talks between the local chairmen affected by this agreement have been taking place, looking into the possibility of an AWTS board in the Chicago area. Although the UTU General Chairman stated that it would be unlikely that the carrier would negotiate to have an AWTS board established in this area given the amount of employees furloughed.

Q: If I am an engineer in training (FIT) would I be furloughed?

A: No, You are a different class of service as by being an FIT. If you were to be setback to a conductor, you would in turn be furloughed.