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The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division-IBT (BMWE) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART-Mechanical Division) have reached an agreement with the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC) to achieve a final and binding agreement in the current round of contract bargaining.The NCCC represents the nation's major freight railroads.The outstanding issue to be decided in arbitration is the design of health insurance benefits applicable to workers represented by BMWED and SMART-Mechanical in this round of bargaining."These agreements reflect our shared commitment to finding the best method to bring our bargaining to a conclusion," said NCCC Chairman A. Kenneth Gradia in a press release. "We are now much closer to a final resolution with all the rail unions."BMWE and SMART-Mechanical Division represent 29,000 employees in this bargaining round.Seven other unions representing 102,000 employees in the bargaining have already ratified their agreements with the railroads. All terms of the agreements have been implemented, including wage increases and retroactive pay. Those unions are the American Train Dispatchers Association; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; Brotherhood Railway Carmen; International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division including Yardmasters; National Conference of Firemen and Oilers; and Transportation Communications International Union.Three unions remain in mediation. They are the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Blacksmiths, Iron Ship Builders, Forgers and Helpers.A committee of the National Railway Labor Conference, 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 the 12 rail unions.