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SMART Transportation Division, Kyle Railroad reach tentative agreement


The SMART Transportation Division and Kyle Railroad have reached a tentative agreement covering all crafts under the division's jurisdiction, including engineers, conductors, brakemen, maintenance-of-way employees, signal workers, mechanics, carmen and welders, according to the United Transportation Union (UTU).

The division will mail the pact and ratification materials to members and ballots must be returned by April 22.

The agreement includes new provisions that guarantee pay and time off, and improve wages and working conditions, said UTU General Chairperson Brent Leonard, who led the union's negotiating team.

"The proposed agreement contains new working conditions that provide for a quality of life unseen on Class I railroads," he said. "For the first time on the Kyle Railroad, our members can secure a guaranteed level of benefit and a cost-sharing cap on their health insurance plan."

Negotiations were made more difficult by the sale of RailAmerica Inc. — which owned the Kyle Railroad — to Genesee and Wyoming Inc. partway through the bargaining process, said UTU Assistant President John Previsich.

"The sale introduced a number of new concerns regarding preservation of benefits and pay that weren't present at the start of the negotiations," he said.

The 625-mile Kyle Railroad operates in north-central Kansas and eastern Colorado, and interchanges with BNSF Railway Co., Union Pacific Railroad and the Nebraska, Kansas & Colorado Railway.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/4/2013