As alluded to in our December newsletter, the abrupt changes in the hiring plan on the BNSF are staggering. As discussed before, in the course of just six months, the BNSF has gone from plans of possibly furloughing employees to where we are now – scouring the country for potential signalmen and continually increasing the hiring plan for this year.
At the end of 2021, the Carrier informed the Committee of its intent to hire approximately 100 new signal employees in 2022. That number has now been increased to 130 and we are hearing rumors it may get adjusted again. There are a couple factors, however, which are causing this fluctuation – resignations and the tight labor market. What this committee understands that we are unsure if the Carrier recognizes, is the labor market only poses recruitment and retention problems when the wages and benefits on offer are mediocre. We are offering the answer to their recruitment problems at the National Bargaining table right now. While the Carriers have not been receptive thus far, we are optimistic that will change soon.