Pursuant to another recent agreement, the decision as to when or if to acquire a CDL will be up to each member – not the BNSF. For over 20 years now, the BNSF has leveraged its ability to disallow new hire applications as a way to require CDLs as a condition of employment.
Under the terms of a recent letter of agreement, that choice will now reside where it belongs— with each individual member. The costs to obtain a CDL will continue to be paid by the Carrier (if they want anyone to have one), but enrollment will be voluntary so long as the side letter remains in effect. Given all the recent changes involving new hires and their training program, anxiety over losing their job for failure to obtain a CDL should not be a concern, and it no longer will be.
Despite this change, we are confident an abundance of new hires will continue to enroll in the Carrier’s CDL training program. Due in part to acquisition costs and the volume of training required, a CDL is a far more valuable certification to have than it once was. So long as the Carrier continues to pay for the training and associated costs, many will continue to acquire a CDL, at their own pace and of their own volition