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Freight railroads, four unions reach tentative agreements

The nation's freight railroads have reached tentative labor agreements with four unions, the National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC) announced late last week.

Agreements have been reached with the Brotherhood Railway Carmen (BRC), the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and the Transportation Communications International Union (TCU), according to an NRLC press release.

If ratified, the agreements would cover more than 31,000 employees. The contract terms cover wages, benefits and other issues.

"Our agreements with the BRC, IAM, IBEW, and TCU, which follow the terms established in the earlier agreements, bring us closer to the resolution of negotiations with all the unions," said A. Kenneth Gradia, chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the railroads' bargaining representative.

The NCCC represents more than 30 railroads — including BNSF Railway Co., CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad — in national bargaining with 12 rail unions. Bargaining began in 2015.

The freight railroads now have reached agreements with 10 unions covering 116,000 employees, about 80 percent of the 145,000 employees in this bargaining round, according to NRLC. Four of those unions have ratified the agreements.

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