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The vast majority of train and engine service (T&E) employees at Illinois Railway L.L.C. last week voted in favor of joining the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET).The union now will represent the short line's 21 T&E workers per election results certified by the National Mediation Board on Aug. 7. Contract negotiations with railroad management will begin as quickly as possible, said BLET National President Dennis Pierce in a press release."The best way to respond to the confidence shown by our new Illinois Railway members is to help them realize the goals they identified throughout the organizing campaign by negotiating their first-ever collective bargaining agreement," he said.Owned by OmniTRAX Inc., Illinois Railway operates four track segments totaling 113 miles west of Chicago's suburbs and interchanges with BNSF Railway Co., CN, Canadian Pacific, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.Meanwhile, delegates to the first International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) convention in Las Vegas yesterday re-elected General President Joseph Nigro and General Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Sellers Jr. to five-year terms. SMART delegates also voted in favor of returning all 11 vice presidents to the General Executive Council.Nigro first was elected general president in July 2011 after the merger of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association and United Transportation Union, which formed SMART. He previously served as general secretary-treasurer and assistant to the general president.Sellers became general secretary-treasurer in 2012. He previously served the union as a general vice president, president and business manager of Local 19.
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