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Rail News: Labor

Grand Trunk Western territory trainmen ratify UTU, CN contract

Earlier this week, about 71 percent of the 300 United Transportation Union (UTU)-represented train and engine-service (T&E) workers in Canadian National Railway Co.’s Grand Trunk Western (GTW) territory ratified a five-year agreement with the Class I.

Retroactive to August 2005, the pact is the first hourly-rate agreement renewal at GTW, CN said. The contract, which calls for wage increases and healthcare benefit improvements, maintains an hourly pay rate.

In contrast to train crews’ traditional mileage- and rule-based wage systems — which date back to the steam locomotive era — the hourly rate system will provide GTW workers more job security in exchange for greater work rule flexibility, CN said. Most of the Class I’s U.S. T&E employees are covered by hourly rate agreements.

“We gained personal leave days for new hires, an increase in held-away meal allowances and reimbursements for passport expenses for those whose work takes them across the U.S.-Canadian border,” said UTU General Chairman David Hiatt in a prepared statement.

GTW’s mainline runs between Chicago and Port Huron, Mich., providing CN a link between the U.S. Midwest and Canada’s Ontario, Quebec and Maritimes provinces.

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More News from 10/17/2006