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Rail News: Labor

Wheeling & Lake Erie, BRS reach tentative agreement

On July 17, Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co. (W&LE) reached a tentative four-year agreement with Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, averting a union-threatened strike.

For more than two-and-a-half years, W&LE has been negotiating a contract with BRS, which represents the 680-mile regional's locomotive mechanics, and maintenance-of-way, and signal and communications workers.

The agreement would resolve an ongoing wage dispute stemming from a July 1998 arbitration award. Beginning this year and ending in 2007, workers would receive an annual 2.5 percent wage increase. However, workers would be required to make health-care contributions.

"I am pleased with the final outcome, and I believe that this agreement establishes the groundwork for improved relations with the W&LE by resolving the outstanding wage dispute," said BRS International President W. Dan Pickett in a prepared statement.

Within 60 days, BRS expects to issue a ratification ballot to 133 W&LE workers. Ballots must be returned within 30 days.

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More News from 7/21/2003