Eleven railroad employees – including two from Somerset County – are suing CSX and the union representing them, claiming they were cheated out of $200,000 in wages.
The workers said they alerted the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen in fall 2009 that they were being paid at the old rate, which had been increased in a contract dated that Sept. 15.
Employees said their union representatives urged them not to file local claims or grievances against CSX, saying they’d approach the rail giant and settle the matter.
In January 2010, CSX told the plaintiffs they were not being paid the contracted rate because of “coding” and “profile” errors in the company’s computerized payroll system.
By Nov. 5, the 11 believe they were owed about $335,000.
On Nov. 5, according to the lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Johnstown, a union official “inexplicably executed an agreement with CSX” settling the matter for $134,000.
The deal reportedly cited unspecified “unique circumstances” in forfeiting the remaining $200,000.
A union official wrote an email on Nov. 9 saying, “This is the best we could do.”
Representatives for Florida-based CSX and for BLET, a division of the Teamsters, did not return calls Friday afternoon seeking comment on this case.
The workers said the union’s pay concession “is so far outside the range of reasonableness as to be irrational.”
Moreover, the locomotive engineers say, members were not treated equally in how the $134,000 was doled out.
Plaintiffs from the region, including what they say they’re still owed, include Joe J. Abramowich Jr., Stoystown, $11,000; James F. Cheek, Donegal area, $24,000; George Friedline, Somerset, $13,000; and Harold
R. Leonard, Normalville, $20,000.
Two others are from Scottdale and the remaining five are from Connellsville.
The workers are suing under the federal Railway Labor Act and the matter has been sent to Alternative Dispute Resolution.
If the case can’t be settled on this more informal basis, it could head to trial.
CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan said the company would have no comment on the ongoing litigation.