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8/5/2002



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

UTU members ratify contract by 3-to-1 ratio




United Transportation Union members Aug. 2 ratified a new contract with National Carriers’ Conference Committee by a 13,525-4,398 vote, according to a prepared statement.


The contract covers workers on 30 U.S. railroads, including Burlington Northern Santa Fe, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.


"This is a superior economic agreement that delivers wage increases well in excess of inflation, guarantees that our members are not going to lose their jobs because of new technology and puts UTU in the driver's seat with regard to health-care cost reform," said UTU International President Byron Boyd Jr.


The contract:

• increases wages 4 percent (retroactive to) July 1, 2.5 percent July 1, 2003, and 3 percent July 1, 2004;

• provides a $1,200 longevity bonus for all pre-1985 employees;

• offers members at carriers' discretion alternative compensation programs, such as stock options, stock grants, bonus programs and 401k plans;

• rolls all cost-of-living adjustments since July 1, 2000 ($3.84 per day) into wages;

• maintains status quo for health-care benefits and cost sharing; and

• establishes an overview committee of UTU and carrier representatives to discuss and resolve problems associated with remote-control technology.


Boyd believes the contract's ratification proves Railway Labor Act works because both parties reached a tentative agreement without seeking mediation.


"Interest-based bargaining, whereby each party addresses the other's demands and concerns in a positive manner, is far superior to having a third-party impose an agreement," he said.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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