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Rail News: Labor

BLET members give thumbs up to tentative national contract


The first rail labor union votes are in on a proposed national contract, and the results are promising for railroads. By a two-to-one majority, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) members voted in favor of the new five-year contract negotiated earlier this year by the Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition (RLBC) and National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC).

Later this month, RLBC members the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, National Conference of Firemen and Oilers/Service Employees International Union, Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, American Train Dispatchers Association and International Brotherhood of Boilermakers will count ratification votes. The coalition, which also includes the BLET, represents about 85,000 rail workers.

The tentative agreement calls for general wage increases totaling 17 percent until Dec. 31, 2009. The contract also would retain work rules, cap workers’ health and welfare contributions at 15 percent, and eliminate railroads’ proposal to reduce train crews to one worker.

The NCCC, which bargains for more than 30 U.S. railroads (including the Class Is), has been negotiating national collective agreements with 13 rail labor unions since November 2004.

Meanwhile, BLET members also voted in favor of a BNSF Railway Co. on-property agreement by a 10-1 margin.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/20/2007