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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

UP/BMWED, CSXT/UTU reach labor agreements of a different sort

Union Pacific Railroad and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) recently launched a pilot safety program agreement that encourages BMWED-represented employees to report "close calls" and personal injuries without fear of discipline from supervisors. The agreement covers BMWED members in the union's Unified System Division, and Pacific and Mountain & Plains federations.

In addition to providing alternatives to discipline, the program will generate a more comprehensive analysis of incidents and injuries, UP and BMWED officials believe. The agreement requires a six-month implementation period and will take effect Dec. 1. If the two-year program proves successful, the agreement might be extended to other UP properties, according to the union.

"We believe safety is best achieved by employees who are motivated to work safely themselves and who also share responsibility for their co-workers' safety," said UP Vice President of Engineering David Connell in a prepared statement. "Although rule compliance is the foundation of workplace safety, we believe this pilot program will take us beyond rule compliance to more of a team approach to identify and eliminate risk."

Meanwhile, CSX Transportation and the United Transportation Union (UTU) have reached a furlough retention board agreement that aims to lighten the adverse impact of furloughs.

Under the pact, furloughed CSXT employees placed on each furlough retention board will be guaranteed four days of work each bi-weekly pay period and retain health-care insurance. The pact is similar to a continuous-employment board agreement the UTU negotiated with UP.

The union is attempting to land similar agreements with other Class Is, including BNSF Railway Co. and Norfolk Southern Railway.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/15/2009