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Rail News: Labor

UTU members' ratification votes on national agreement due June 9


United Transportation Union (UTU) members soon will cast their votes on a tentative national agreement. The union plans to mail out voting materials to eligible members on May 20. Voting will close June 9.

Members will be able to cast votes by telephone under supervision of the American Arbitration Association. The UTU plans to conduct meetings around the nation to provide members with more details on the agreement and have international officers answer their questions.

In January, the UTU and National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC) reached a tentative agreement after three years of on and off bargaining and litigation in a federal court. Pending ratification, the pact would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2005, and expire on Dec. 31, 2009.

The agreement would cover about 46,000 conductors, brakemen, engineers, firemen, hostlers, switchmen and yardmasters employed by the more than 30 railroads — including the Class Is — that bargain collectively through the NCCC. The contract would provide a 17 percent general wage increase over the life of the agreement, retain a cost-of-living adjustment and cap health-care contributions.