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BLET members ratify CSX ‘single system’ agreement

CLEVELAND, April 16 — Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen have ratified a single system agreement with CSX Transportation, according to National Secretary-Treasurer William Walpert, whose office was responsible for the vote count.

The new single system agreement unifies work rules and pay across three of the four BLET general committees at CSX. NST Walpert said the contract was ratified by a vote of 1,580 for and 1,113 against.

Vice President Paul Sorrow, who headed negotiations, thanked everyone for voting on the agreement. He also thanked General Chairmen Tony Smith (CSX Eastern Lines), Don Moates (CSX Western Lines), and Rick Finamore (CSX Northern Lines) for finally bringing the negotiations to a conclusion. (The Conrail SAA/CSXT Northern District GCA is not a party to the agreement.)

In approving the agreement, BLET members opted for a Performance Bonus Program instead of traditional general wage increases. While engineers will receive a 3 percent wage increase and a $2,500 signing bonus, future pay increases are tied to company performance. If CSX Corp. reaches its financial goals, then engineers will receive a 6 percent bonus of their 2007 earnings, an 8 percent bonus of their 2008 earnings, and a 10 percent bonus of their 2009 earnings.

“We believe our members will make more money under the Performance Bonus Program than general wage increases, and this agreement with present more opportunities for our membership in the future,” said BLET Vice President Paul Sorrow.

BLET National President Don Hahs congratulated all officers involved in negotiations and thanked all the members who voted.

“The Performance Bonus Program is very similar to the program the BLET negotiated on Norfolk Southern a few years ago,” President Hahs said. “It has been well received by the majority of our members there and we believe the case will be the same for our CSX Brothers and Sisters.”

President Hahs said that if engineers are unhappy with the Performance Bonus Program, then there is a snap back provision that allows them to convert to general wage increases that are part of the tentative BLET National Agreement.

Vice President Sorrow again thanked everyone for voting. “More than 51 percent of eligible voters cast ballots on the contract,” Sorrow said. “I am pleased with that high level of voter turnout.”

Monday, April 16, 2007
bentley@ble-t.org

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