16 comments to “Rail Giant BNSF Accused of Telling Arbitrator: ‘Our Way or The Highway’”

  1. Finra arbitration attorney Daniel Bakondi

    There are few arbitration forums and usually they are the choice of the business that prepares the contract. The individual, consumer or investor is often left at the mercy, and the arbitrators may feel that it is better business to side with the party who chose the arbitrator forum and is likely to bring more cases to the forum. While the finra arbitration forums are designated in the case of industry disputes in my practice, it is still an ongoing process to make the arbitration process as fair as it can be. For more info about my thoughts, fee free to reach out.

  2. Activated conductor of 10 years

    What is for the birds is the attendance policy! The company officials get every other weekend off and work set hours but yet the policy doesn’t apply to them but we are agreement employees not company employees our agreement says one day in 30 to protect or job but that’s no good they force a policy that there employees don’t even follow we can only get 6 days or two weekends in 3months we are on call 24/7 with 10 hours off between work times no days off that not even fair I guess we aren’t allowed to get sick or have doctor appointments or God forbid we spend time with our kids this is bs not to even mention about them not paying us the money we are due with valid time claim I argued with time keeping over a claim he told me yes it’s a valid claim but I am not gonna pay it I will never see that money since we can’t strike there is nothing we can do they do what they want with no repercussions this shit has to stop seriously

  3. andrew strickland

    i know what the person is talting about . i went to the law board in chicogo il and there was eight guys trying to get are jobs back . 7 got their jobs i did not the utu feed me to the lions to bring back the other seaven. then the vice locol chariman for utu 1846 trund me in to the union pacific railroad now i can not get a job any where. the up has destoryed my life.i was only helping my mom with doc. appotments. the up did give me fmla no med leav and when i used my vaction they said no you can not do that and fried me for not protecting my job.this was after they had maid me get weight loss sergery are they where going to fire meand the up did it any ways. the up said all i had to do was lose a go amout of weight and everything would be ok i got down to 170 and im 6foot 2 i weigh as much as most og the oficers.

  4. Mark Russ

    As a general chairman for the Machinists union for several years I presented nearly 100 cases before an arbitrator, not once was I consulted prior to the Arbirtators issuance of an award. Once the Awrd is issued with the Arbitrator’s signature it becomes final with one more signature, that of the union rep or the labor relations representative. The process described above is highly unusual in my experience.

  5. FormerTM

    I am a former Trainmaster/Conductor that was fired from BNSF recently. I am a 100% disabled combat veteran and did not ask for concessions to provide me with specific accommodations but they fired me nonetheless. I filed a complaint with EEOC and state HR agency for resolution but I’ve seen the way the railroad operates and know what they are capable of……so fingers crossed.

  6. Anthony Wallace

    In 2012 I was terminated from the railroad. This was retaliation for not providing the carrier with information on a fellow coworker. They could not fire him so then they dug into my Facebook account until they found an on duty time that correlated with a Facebook time stamp. I repeatedly expressed my innocence and the case was arbitrated in Fl and I lost. 8 years with BNSF of blood sweat and tears. They used me then abused me and it was wrong. No further actions was available for me. General chairman expressed his apolgies and that was it.

  7. Fed up railway worker

    I went through a similar case with said railway. Corruption is deep in the ranks in Ft. Worth. They would rather lie then tell, the truth. And have been caught more times then I can count, lying in court, and under oath. Dirty business, and in a Railroad town, like Ft. Worth you can not win in court.

  8. george howell

    What I was told 3 years ago before I retired. Was that they no longer care about your family, your health. All they want to do is fight with every employees

  9. Bill Jungbauer

    I have fought BNSF (and BN) for 38 years. The RR has sunk to “New Lows” in its mistreatment and hostility towards its workers ever since Warren Buffett’s henchmen took over BNSF.

    The RR’s own discipline manual for officers instructs them to DESTROY all notes that document company disciplinary investigation of employees. Computer policies automatically destroy email evidence after 46 days.

    It is impossible to stop the abuses of this RR unless some Court is willing to listen.

    A federal court in Seattle DID listen two months ago, assessing $1.66 million against BNSF for wrongfully firing Curtis Rookaird, a conductor who took time to inspect hazmat tank cars.

    BNSF officials should be prosecuted for their testimony in that case; the jury did all it could awarding punitive damages; but even punitive damages won’t stop the Evil Empire Builder from continuing its abusive tactics.

    Bill Jungbauer

  10. Derek

    My job is going through arbitration now even though it was clean cut case where I ask my forman to go home in a text message after quiting hours and he text back yes my roadmaster still fired me because he didn’t like me I have 24 years he had 8 at the time I been out of work for 2 years and I’m worried I might not get back ….

  11. 3 finger Shocker

    Railroads classically have not been about integrity. The system needs to be changed to stop this from happening again. A classic case to show the unfairness. Arbitration just is not fair and this is only one such case how many more exist. The raillway labor act is outdated and needs to be amended to protect today’s railroaders from unfairness. These workers too should be protected from whistleblower. That way the railway labor act is written the company just uses it to say they simply don’t have to follow any whistleblower provisions. Several people have been denied their jobs back by rail arbitrators and later OSHA overturns that, yet the railroad simply does not follow OSHA provisions cause their not mentioned in the railway labor act.

  12. Wes Taylor

    It seems to me that Zimmerman was testing the waters with her proposal ruling. She should have had the fortitude to go with a final ruling and let the cards fall. The system is flawed as carriers are able to influence arbitrators. There needs to be changes in the system to prevent this.

  13. C M

    After working for Kcs 16 yrs 3 strikes in 3 years I was out….. 1 switch ( both our faults) , 1st time late (schedule change after 3 years) , derailment that was not my fault…. Level of discipline is not equal to everyone….

  14. Charles Rightnowar

    This is all to common in the rail industry as I was involved in this process for more than 15 years.

    The SCOTUS should overturn case law that makes everything a minor dispute and let Courts hear arbitration cases as to the merits.

    The Carriers have destroyed the “major dispute process” at the Courthouse and for the past 20 years have been attempting to destroy the “minor dispute process” in arbitration.

    While I was General Chairman, I had cases originally filed in 2001 and they still have not been resolved.

    If the law was changed to the effect that if a minor dispute was not resolved in 3-6 months, it automatically, as a matter of law, it becomes a major dispute.

  15. No Shocker

    This shouldn’t shock anyone. BNSF has a history of doing this to employees. If they don’t like you and you have character and integrity they will find a way to push you out to include trumped up complaints and accusations. EEOC take notice.

  16. Anthony Wallace

    I too was fired from the railroad and the arbitrator sided with the carrier after being told by my union local chairman that I would get my job back. My case was clear threat and retaliation due to me not giving up information to help them fire a fellow union brother. I worked at BNSF for 8 years and lost my job Aug 3rd 2012. No where to turn and no one to help.

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