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Crew Consist

Two simple words with massive implications.

Also known as short crew or in dollars and cents $10.75.

We all know that historically, the carrier has pushed to reduce crew size. Long gone are the days of six-person crews consisting of an Engineer, Fireman, Conductor, and multiple brakeman. Crew consist negotiations began literally decades ago and seem to resurface every 10 years or so. Some of these negotiations made national news for the Implications they would make across the whole industry. Its not uncommon for one carrier to want what the other carriers got, especially if it saves them money.

In the past, the railroads struggled financially, or so they would have you believe. Some of the earliest references I have found date back to the 40’s. Each time the carrier makes a technological innovation or the train makeup changes drastically, they want to reevaluate what crew consist they need to safely, efficiently and profitably move these trains. For example, the introduction of intermodal trains. No longer is work in route needed. These trains are basically through freight until their final destination. I am aware that they do set outs and pick-ups. What I mean to say is that there are no longer multiple work events upon each segment of track working individual industries. EOT’s eliminated the caboose and therefore the rear brakemen. These examples can be found in abundance throughout the railroad’s history. The point is each time this happens, it costs us jobs. Hence, crew consist agreements. We as a union negotiate the loss of jobs, typically with buyouts and/or pay to compensate the extra work put on the remaining members of the crew.

Each new negotiation is retaining some of the “original” rights afforded from previous agreements combined with new caveats. So that means that 75 years after the original agreements, we still retain parts of those older agreements and they work in conjunction with parts of the new agreements. When the carrier decides NOT to pay those agreements, we submit claims accordingly. Unfortunately, it is a cat and mouse game. A chess game so to speak, where we make strategic moves and wait for the counter move. In order to apply precedent to a claim denied by the carrier, we need to learn what the basis for the declination is. What grounds or precedent are they basing the denial on? Then it is our turn to play the legal game of whose precedent trumps whose precedent. Do we even have a precedent or are they working a new angle? Sometimes, it is a waiting game to see who makes the first move. Don’t believe for a second that it isn’t a tactical and strategically planned move on the part of the carrier. Its not always a single line from a single contract dated on a specific date that says they must pay you. Don’t forget, this crew consist war has been going on for decades.

When the general Chairman says put in your claim and just tell the story of what happened to you, then trust in the system. You have decades of agreements, knowledge and bargaining skill working in your best interest. If you put a precedent on your claim and its not the correct countermove to whatever angle the carrier is playing, then your claim has no chance of further progression. Its dead in the water because the facts you stated are wrong. We have several attempts at appeal from different angles. Hopefully this provides some context on our stance about adding precedent to your claim. We have nothing to hide, nor do we plan on being anything less than transparent. All agreements we currently posses in PDF format are available at All pertinent awards can be found online through the SMART International website


On mobile:

Go to and in the drop down menu at the top choose transportation.

Next you will utilize a second drop down menu and choose documents.

The very top link now available to you should be Awards and Agreements.

You will then choose Search UTU database by text.

Or click here for a direct link.

On desktop:

Go to and choose transportation on the horizontal

menu across the top.

A 2nd banner will appear and you will choose documents.

The top link will now be Awards and Agreements.

Search UTU database by Text is now an option to view awards.

Or click here for a direct link

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Smart TD Local 577
Smart TD Local 577
Mar 11, 2019

2003 EA-1 Memorandum of Agreement

Article V - Time Claim Handling Process

Section V - Rights

"A. This agreement recognizes the right of the organization to file and pursue claims and grievances for and on behalf of its members. It is further recognized the General Chairman and/or the Carriers highest designated officer are free to amend the respective positions taken by their local representatives, with respect to the basis on which a claim is initially premised or declined during its handling on the local level, so as to be consistent with their respective positions concerning the meaning and application of the involved rules."

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