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Unions, freight-rail carriers reach tentative agreement on five-year contract

Conductors are part of the rail workforce represented by the Coordinated Bargaining Group.
Photo – Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen

The six unions that make up the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) have reached a tentative agreement with the nation's freight-rail carriers, the unions announced yesterday.

The CBG represents the American Train Dispatchers Association; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), a division of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers; the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers/SEIU; and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART TD). 

The tentative agreement, which will be submitted to each union's membership in the next few weeks, includes an immediate wage increase of 4 percent, with an additional 2.5 percent on July 1, 2018, as well as an additional 3 percent on July 1, 2019, according to a press release issued by BLET.

In addition, wage increases of 2 percent effective July 1, 2016, and another 2 percent effective July 1, 2017, will be fully retroactive through implementation, for a compounded increase of 9.84 percent over 18 months and 13.14 percent over the contract's five-year term. Included is the first general wage increase of 3 percent implemented on Jan. 1, 2015.

Moreover, existing benefits under the health and welfare plan will remain unchanged, with no disruptions to the existing health networks. The agreement requires that the rail carriers will, on average, continue to pay 90 percent of all members' point-of-service costs. Also, employees' monthly premium contribution will remain frozen at the current rate.

Regarding work rules, the tentative agreement provides for no changes.

The CBG's negotiating teams unanimously endorsed the tentative agreement Wednesday. Yesterday, the general chairpersons of the SMART TD, BRS and BLET also unanimously endorsed the agreement.

A copy of the tentative agreement can be found here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/6/2017