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7/30/2002



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BLE members ratify CN pact affecting former IC properties; UTU members to mull CN's NQT deal


Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers members July 29 ratified a labor agreement with Canadian National Railway Co. covering 415 locomotive engineers working on former Illinois Central (IC) properties.


The three-year agreement, which takes effect Aug. 1, eliminates prior work rules and agreements in exchange for guaranteed time off, job security and an hourly wage for all BLE-represented engineers.


CN officials believe the railroad will gain enhanced employee productivity from the agreement — which is modeled after a BLE-ratified pact that took effect earlier this year on CN’s Wisconsin Central Division — while BLE members obtain benefits that provide a better balance between work and home.


Former IC properties include Illinois Central Railroad, which operates between Chicago and New Orleans; and Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad, which connects Chicago, Omaha, Neb., and Sioux City, Iowa.


Meanwhile, CN July 30 reached a tentative agreement with United Transportation Union that would preserve and extend flexible work practices and hourly pay rates for UTU members on CN’s 1,200-mile Northern Quebec Territory (NQT).
The five-year agreement, subject to ratification, would increase wages and benefits for 68 workers retroactive to May 1, 2000.


"NQT was established in 1995 with flexible work rules and hourly pay for train and engine personnel that are similar to those employed by low-cost short-line railways," said Keith Heller, senior vice president of CN’s Eastern Canada division, in a prepared statement. "The wage increases in this new agreement — the first in seven years — recognize the contribution that NQT employees have made to CN since 1995."


CN recently reached agreements with Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which ratified the pacts covering 152 NQT employees.


The Class I also continues to seek a new agreement with 64 BLE-represented NQT employees.


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