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Rail News: Labor

BMWED negotiates contracts with two Watco short lines

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters recently negotiated its first agreements with the South Kansas & Oklahoma and Stillwater Central railroads, which are owned by The Watco Cos. Inc.

The BMWED previously filed two federal lawsuits against Watco claiming the short-line holding company bargained in "bad faith" and violated other Railway Labor Act provisions.

The two agreements will raise the hourly rates of track inspectors to $18, track foremen to $16.25 and truck drivers to $15.25. The pacts also call for Watco to pay overtime wages.

The BMWED and Watco agreed to binding arbitration concerning track laborers' annual wages, whether they should receive a signing bonus, entry rates and the effective date for wage adjustments. The arbitrator will choose either the union's or Watco's best offer.

The BMWED represents about 35,000 rail workers who build and repair track, bridges and structures.

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More News from 7/16/2008