The following letter was emailed to GO-001 Local Chairpersons on Thursday, September 17 to update them on additional details of the "Buyout" letter previously sent to select BNSF ground service employees and how to best advise their members. General Chairman Randall Knutson wanted to ensure that all of the members have access to this important information and ordered the letters releases on the General Committees website and social media.
Brothers & Sisters
Attached for your reference is a copy of the most recent communication BNSF Labor Relations will issue regarding their selective offer for voluntary separation. While BNSF will be mailing a copy to each eligible employee, all of you should be aware of these details in the event you are questioned.
As we advised in our last broadcast, if you are contacted by any eligible employee regarding their decision to accept this offer, please insist that they personally contact both the RRB and UHC to review their personal scenario. While we were told that there was some internal discussion on the matter, BNSF is not offering any means of bridging insurance coverage for employees that wish to accept this offer and are not 60 years of age by the effective date.
On the other hand, the attached communication does answer two of the primary questions we have been receiving in the office. First, the employee will be compensated for any earned and unused vacation or applicable personal leave days if they accept this offer.
The letter also indicates that BNSF will consider employees eligible for the separation allowance even if they retired subsequent to August 24th. As long as the employee was in active ground service on that date, they remain eligible for consideration. However, we have notified Labor Relations that as long as all eligible employees requesting the separation are granted the offer, this should not present a problem. On the other hand, if those that retired subsequent to the eligibility date were granted the offer ahead of an employee in active service, this office will progress a grievance on behalf of the latter employee. That said, we are led to believe that BNSF is going to offer the separation allowance to all eligible employees that submit a request.
If you have any questions regarding this broadcast, please feel free to contact us.