Rule 62 covers bereavement leave on the BNSF. The existing terms date back to at least the 1972 BN agreement. The rule provided 3 consecutive eight hour work days of leave for the loss of covered family members. The former ATSF agreement only provided 3 consecutive calendar days for bereavement, which was inferior to the BN rule. Therefore, when the two agreements were merged over 20 years ago, we retained the BN rule. This committee has felt the rule was long overdue for amendments suitable for the times and can now happily report we have reached agreement with the BNSF for significant improvements to bereavement leave.
Effective immediately, in the unfortunate event a BRS member loses a family member covered under Rule 62, they will have much more flexibility in their ability to take paid leave. The three days granted can now be used in any interval the member chooses, so long as they are used within 30 days following the death.
An added improvement to the rule was also made where 10-hour assignments are concerned. Effective immediately, a bereavement leave day will be paid at the number of hours of the assigned workday on your most recent assignment. As is always the case in bargaining, we had several other enhancements we wanted to make to the rule. For example, we believe paid bereavement leave should be provided to all employees; not just those who have worked at least 2 years. We also believe the rule is long overdue to cover step relationships.
In the end, we improved the rule as much as possible without conceding anything to the Carrier in exchange. The additional changes we seek are not going away – they will remain priorities for this committee, and we won’t stop fighting for them. Considering the rule had not been amended in at least 50 years, making the improvements we made at no cost to the member was most certainly a victory.