Union representatives, with no public sign of progress in contract talks, intensified thepressure for a settlement with informational picketing by 13 unions against Norfolk Southern Corp.'s rail operations.
The picket lines were posted Friday at nine NS locations, almost one year to the day after the current round of national contract bargaining began with an exchange of proposals and a lawsuit by the carriers in an effort to force all unions into national bargaining.A statement by the Norfolk Southern General Chairmen's Association said the informational pickets "are demonstrating their displeasure with NS management stalling tactics during the current round of negotiations. Even with those large profits ($670 million last year), the NS is using every delay tactic available to avoid bargaining. It has been a full year, and not a single union has been able to reach settlement with NS."
There have been no contract settlements to date with NS or any of the seven other major carriers bargaining through management's agent, the National Railway Labor Conference.
That negotiating group is in talks with every labor organization, though the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes and NRLC are engaged in simultaneous local and national negotiations.
A spokesman said, "Norfolk Southern believes that the proper forum for
discussing issues with rail labor is at the negotiating table rather than before TV cameras."
Unions participating in the informational picketing included every major rail labor group, including train and engine workers, clerical, shop and maintenance of way crafts.
"It is unprecedented for all of the rail unions to work this closely with each other in this type of demonstration," the general chairmen said.
The NS sites where picketing occurred were Atlanta; Fort Wayne, Ind.; St. Louis; Norfolk, Va.; Bellevue, Ohio; and Roanoke, Va. Total turnout was reported to be 100 persons.
Six weeks ago, the BMWE staged similar informational picketing against Conrail Inc. at 15 locations on that system.