It wasn’t exactly by a landslide, but a majority of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) members recently voted in favor of ratifying a single system agreement with CSX Transportation.
The pact, which unifies work rules and pay across three of four BLET general committees at CSXT, passed by a 1,580-1,113 vote.
The contract will provide workers a performance bonus program instead of traditional general wage increases. Engineers initially will receive a 3 percent wage increase and a $2,500 signing bonus. If CSXT reaches its financial goals the next three years, engineers will receive a bonus based on 6 percent of their 2007 earnings, 8 percent of 2008 earnings and 10 percent of 2009 earnings.
“We believe our members will make more money under the program than general wage increases,” said BLET Vice President Paul Sorrow in a prepared statement.
A similar bonus program negotiated for Norfolk Southern Railway engineers a few years ago has been well received by a majority of members, said BLET National President Don Hahs. If engineers are unhappy with the CSXT program, a “snap back” provision will enable them to convert to general wage increases stipulated by a tentative BLET national agreement, he said.