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6/10/2008



Rail News: Labor

UTU members ratify national agreement with carriers' committee


For only the second time in the United Transportation Union's (UTU) 39-year history, voting members have ratified a national agreement with carriers. By overwhelming margins within six crafts, UTU members recently gave the thumbs up to an agreement with the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC). Out of 18,076 votes cast, 15,313 — or 85 percent — favored the agreement.

Covering about 46,000 brakemen, conductors, engineers, firemen, hostlers, switchmen and yardmen at more than 30 U.S. railroads (including the Class Is), the contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2005, and expires Dec. 31, 2009. The pact calls for a 17 percent wage hike, retroactive pay, no work rule changes, a cap on health care contributions and no reduction in health-care benefits. In addition, effective Jan. 1, 2010, new hires will obtain health-care coverage in 30 days instead of 120 days.

"We also retained, undisturbed, our locally negotiated crew-consist agreements, and the carriers retreated from their attack on the Federal Employers' Liability Act," said UTU International President Mike Futhey in a prepared statement.

In January, the UTU and NCCC reached a tentative agreement after more than 38 months of on-and-off bargaining and litigation in a federal court concerning new hire training and entry-level wages.

In 2002, UTU members ratified their first national agreement with the carriers by a 76 percent margin.


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