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Rail News: Labor

SEPTA, BLET reach tentative pact for rail engineers

Negotiators for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 71 and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) yesterday announced they reached a tentative five-year agreement covering 200 rail engineers.

The agreement would run through July 2015 and include a 13.32 percent pay raise, according to a BLET press release. The tentative pact follows five years of talks between the two parties.

If approved by the engineers and SEPTA's board, the agreement will avert a possible commuter-rail strike, BLET officials said. The union's members conducted a one-day strike in June, then returned to work following the appointment of a Presidential Emergency Board, which suspended the strike and started a 120-day clock that ended yesterday at 12:01 a.m.

"This agreement keeps the trains rolling in Philadelphia," said BLET National Vice President Steve Bruno.

Last week, SEPTA asked for an additional automatic one-time 120-day extension under the rules of the federal Railway Labor Act.

"We think it's important to put this proposed pay raise before our members as soon as possible, said Bruno."

The tentative agreement accepts management's proposal for the effective date of a 2014 pay raise and incorporates the union’s suggestion that next year’s increases become effective in April 2015. The BLET expects to announce ratification vote results within the next 30 days.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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