In September 2016, this committee entered into an Agreement with BNSF to try and secure additional scope-covered work for BRS employees. The Agreement was established to have BRS employees maintain non-scope-covered mechanical detectors. The committee’s primary goal was to show how a professional group of employees could take on this new role and prove that exclusivity of the work should be awarded to our craft, thus expanding our scope rule.
In February 2017, we expanded that agreement in a further effort to secure the work in our scope rule. We did this through an agreement to allow, but not require, the Carrier to utilize signal crews to perform the construction of these same mechanical detectors. Ever since, the Carrier has continually demonstrated it has no real desire to utilize our members for the construction of mechanical detectors. Therefore, it was determined this Agreement provided no real value to our members. It clearly has not provided the leverage necessary to secure the work into our scope rule.
Due to these factors, the committee gathered your feedback through your local chairmen, and used that feedback to make reasonable proposals to the Carrier. On multiple occasions we attempted to secure exclusivity of this work for BRS members – the Carrier refused. We then offered to continue performing the work without explicit rights to the work, in exchange for fair compensation for those affected – the Carrier refused. After numerous meetings to try and resolve the issue, the two sides could not agree on a path forward.
Due to the Carrier’s assessment that we are merely glorified “lens and mirror cleaners” unworthy of being fairly compensated or recognizing our contributions through exclusivity, the decision was made to cancel the Mechanical Detector Agreement. As of January 1, 2023, BRS members will no longer be responsible for the maintenance or construction of mechanical detectors. If instructed to do any work on a mechanical detector, memorialize the instruction, and document the time spent on the detector. Then immediately notify your local chairman. The BNSF GC wants to recognize the hard work and efforts of those that took on the extra workload in hopes of securing work for all BNSF BRS employees.