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3/28/2008



Rail News: Labor

UTU general chairpersons give tentative national contract the thumbs up


On Tuesday, more than 50 United Transportation Union (UTU) general chairpersons unanimously supported a tentative agreement with the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC). The union plans to mail ratification materials to members by late May.

In the meantime, the general chairpersons — who represent members at BNSF Railway Co., CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern Railway, Union Pacific Railroad and other NCCC member railroads — will conduct local meetings next month to explain the agreement and field questions. The UTU plans to post the entire agreement on its Web site before the meetings are held.

"These informational meetings are to assure members cast an informed ballot when they receive their ratification package," said UTU International President Mike Futhey in a news item posted on the union's Web site.

NCCC and UTU reached a tentative agreement in January after nearly three years of, at times, contentious negotiations. Covering 46,000 conductors, brakemen, engineers, firemen, hostlers, switchmen and yardmasters employed at more than 30 railroads, the pact would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2005, and expire on Dec. 31, 2009. The contract would provide a 17 percent general wage increase over the life of the agreement, retain a cost-of-living adjustment and cap health-care contributions.


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