A BNSF intermodal coach slows as it passes a maintenance-of-way gang at do the job in Hinsdale, Unwell., on June 13, 2021. The union symbolizing routine maintenance-of-way workers has sued BNSF. David Lassen

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division has sued BNSF Railway in federal courtroom, charging that — in cutting down its upkeep-of-way workforce even though contracting out extra get the job done — the railroad has violated its agreements with the union and is hence in violation of the Railway Labor Act.

The BMWED submitted the accommodate July 28 in U.S. District Courtroom for the District of Nebraska. Its grievance, offered here, says the railroad has lessened its maintenance workforce by 19% considering that 2016, from 7,122 to 5,760 as of February 2023, although the number of contracted-out servicing tasks has enhanced from 263 in 2016 to 595 in 2022, with 275 this sort of jobs in 2023 as of June.

The suit states the railroad “has not built serious efforts to employ the service of and boost its servicing of way function pressure,” and that the railroad has delayed or deferred prepared maintenance and track repairs as a end result, which “increases the chance of derailments.”

The union suggests these details clearly show “BNSF has in poor faith tried to evade its contractual obligations with BMWED,” and asks that the court docket come across the railroad in violation of the Railway Labor Act and grant reduction “the court docket deems just and appropriate.”

In a joint assertion Tuesday on the BMWED web site, the union’s four standard chairmen on BNSF say the railroad “is attempting to shirk its obligation under the Railway Labor Act in an effort to lessen its labor expense and enrich alone at the cost of our members. … They are ignoring earlier agreements on manpower, featuring up flimsy excuses for their attrition, and laughing all the way to the bank. We have been affected individual and have waited for BNSF to rectify this predicament on its personal but that has not proved useful. So now we convert to the court docket to implement action.”

BNSF, in a statement to Trains News Wire, said, “There is an present arbitration method in area to deal with these varieties of challenges. Nonetheless, allegations questioning our commitment to security at BNSF are simply just inaccurate. About the earlier five a long time, BNSF has fully commited nearly $17.5 billion for funds investments, of which almost $13 billion has been allotted to routine maintenance. BNSF’s financial investment in basic safety is mirrored in our rate of railroad products incidents, which has been the lowest amid the four Course 1 railroads for the very last 7 yrs.”

The BMWED go well with follows a accommodate submitted in February from BNSF by three unions over outsourcing of locomotive repairs [see “Unions sue BNSF …,” News Wire, March 7, 2023]. That match, by the Global Brotherhood of Electrical Personnel, Intercontinental Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 19, and Clever-MD (International Affiliation of Sheet Steel, Air, Rail and Transportation Staff-Mechanical and Engineering Office), in the same way claimed BNSF had developed the need for outsourcing through a “bad-religion course of motion.”

— Up-to-date at 8:20 p.m. CDT with assertion from BNSF