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Rail News: Labor

UP, Amtrak yardmasters ratify contracts; BLET marks 145th anniversary

United Supervisors Council of America (USCA)-represented yardmasters at Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak recently ratified contracts with the two carriers.

USCA, comprising representatives from the United Transportation Union (UTU) and Transportation Communications Union (TCU), represents about 500 yardmasters. At UP, 260 of the yardmasters are represented by the Western Railroad Supervisors Association, a TCU division.

UP yardmasters voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratification, said UTU Vice President J.R. "Jim" Cumby — who assisted in the negotiations — in a news item on the UTU's Web site.

At Amtrak, yardmasters also overwhelmingly approved an agreement, which is "in line with the deal recently ratified by other Amtrak workers," the UTU said.

Meanwhile, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) marked its 145th anniversary last week. The union was founded as the Brotherhood of the Footboard on May 8, 1863, in Marshall, Mich., after Michigan Central Railroad locomotive engineers became discouraged with pay cuts and firemen dismissals.

In 1864, the union changed its name to Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, a name it retained until 2004, when the BLE merged with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and became the BLET.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/13/2008