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Rail News: Labor

Divisions unite to approve BLE/BNSF on-property agreement


All Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers-represented divisions at Burlington Northern Santa Fe — voting as a block for the first time since the Class I's 1995 merger — recently approved an on-property agreement by an 80-15 (divisions) vote.

The agreement provides engineers personal leave days regardless of service class or assignment and establishes a new pay rule for "engineer only helper service."

The deal complements a recently ratified alternative compensation package, under which BLE-represented BNSF workers will receive maximum profit sharing of 6 percent of their annual earnings this year, and 8 percent for 2005 and subsequent years.

"The overwhelming support of both [agreements] gives us the feedback we need to jump right back into the next round," said BLE General Chairman Rick Gibbons in a prepared statement, referring to BNSF contract negotiations that will resume in November.