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NCFO becomes fifth union to ratify national agreement with major freight railroads

The National Conference of Firemen & Oilers SEIU (NCFO) on Wednesday announced its members have ratified a five-year agreement with the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC), which bargains with 12 rail labor unions for more than 30 U.S. railroads, including the Class Is.

Expiring Dec. 31, 2019, the contract covers NCFO members employed by BNSF Railway Co., CSX, Norfolk Southern Railway, Kansas City Southern, Union Pacific Railroad and numerous smaller freight railroads. The contract’s effective date is Dec. 1, 2017, although some new pay rates and health-care plan modifications take effect Jan. 1, 2018. In addition to retroactive and previously approved wage hikes, the contract calls for a 2.5 percent pay increase on July 1, 2018, and a 3 percent increase on July 1, 2019.

“This round of bargaining, just like what is taking place in Washington, was totally unpredictable,” said NCFO President John Thacker in a press release. “We went from a possible tentative agreement, prior to the 2016 presidential election, to a stalemate after the election, to an agreement in the final days of bargaining.”

NCFO is a member of the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG), a coalition of six rail labor unions that worked collectively to reach a new national agreement with the NCCC. The CBG unions represent more than 85,000 railroad workers covered by national contracts.

Members of four other CBG unions also have ratified the national agreement: the American Train Dispatchers Association, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers’ Transportation Division. International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers members have not yet ratified the pact.

The NCCC also has reached tentative agreements with the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Transportation Communications Union.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/15/2017