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Rail News: Labor

BLET, SMART-TD: Talks have yet to resolve contract issues


Recent meetings held between the nation's major railroads and unions to discuss the Presidential Emergency Board’s recommendations for a labor contract settlement failed to produce a tentative agreement, two unions announced Aug. 27.

The meetings held virtually on Aug. 22 and in-person Aug. 25-26 did not produce "any tentative agreement language that operating crafts would accept, or that could be presented to our members for ratification," said Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen President Dennis Pierce and SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson in a joint press release.

"Although no tentative agreement was reached this week, SMART-TD and BLET remain committed to negotiate over issues that are most important to our members, including wages, quality of life and attendance, as well as voluntary time off issues," Pierce and Ferguson said.

The labor leaders are also seeking clarification on certain aspects of the PEB recommendations concerning health and welfare, they said.

The PEB issued those recommendations earlier this month. Under the Railway Labor Act, the railroads and unions are now in a "cooling off" period to reach an agreement based on the PEB recommendations or according to other terms. No work stoppage may occur during the cooling off period, which expires Sept. 16.

"We have made it abundantly clear to the carriers that we are prepared and willing to exercise every legal option available to us, to achieve the compensation and working conditions that we and our families rightfully expect and deserve," Pierce and Ferguson said.

The BLET and SMART-TD are among a dozen unions that are seeking to resolve the contract dispute with the railroads.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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