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BLET gets first contract at IC&E

CLEVELAND, January 24 -- The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainman, a division of the Teamstersí Rail Conference, announced today that it has obtained a first contract for its 300 members working at the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad (IC&E).

The Brotherhood first organized the IC&E property on December 17, 2003, and has been in contract negotiations ever since. The union and the carrier agreed to the National Mediation Boardís offer of binding arbitration in late 2004 after months of intense and difficult negotiations.

The four-year deal gives members wage increases of more than 9 percent over the life of the contract, which runs through 2008.

The agreement provides members with an appeals process and union protection through a formalized discipline procedure. The contract contains a program for Voluntary Days Off and a Flex Day program to help members manage time off from work.

In July of 2003, the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad (DM&E) purchased the I&M Rail Link (also known as IMRL) and changed its name to the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad. In doing so, the company abolished union representation.

The DM&E, which owns 1,100 miles of track, purchased the IMRL, which owned 1,400 miles of track, for a reported $150 million. The former IMRL tracks connect the Twin Cities, Chicago and Kansas City. DM&E is in the process of upgrading its system to carry coal from Wyoming's Powder River Basin across South Dakota and southern Minnesota.

Monday, January 24, 2005

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