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9/16/2003



Rail News: Labor

BRS members ratify agreements with Class Is, Ohio regional


Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) members recently ratified agreements with National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC) and Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co. (W&LE).

Expiring Jan. 1, 2005, the NCCC contract — which ends nearly four years of negotiations — provides retroactive wage increases ranging from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent from October 2001 to the present and an annual 3.25 percent wage increase in July 2004. The contract also caps employees' monthly health and welfare cost sharing contributions at $100, and improves health and welfare, and insurance benefits.

"Although we are saddled with health and welfare contributions, the contract provides wage increases, benefit improvements and is void of any work-rule changes," said BRS International President W. Dan Pickett in a prepared statement.

The W&LE contract resolves an ongoing wage dispute stemming from a July 1998 arbitration award that since has been tied-up in federal court. Within 10 days of the contract's execution — which BRS expects to happen next month — both parties will jointly withdraw their federal cases.

The deal provides annual wage increases of 2.5 percent each July through 2007. Current employees who worked in 2002 or before will receive a $2,000 lump-sum payment when the agreement becomes effective and another $1,500 lump-sum payment in July 2004 because of the court-case settlement. However — similar to the NCCC contract — workers will be required to contribute monthly toward health and welfare benefits.


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