Rail labor, carriers reach cramdown deal

CLEVELAND, March 22 -- A group of seven rail labor unions and five freight railroads reached agreement yesterday to end the practice known as "cramdown," the Surface Transportation Board-approved practice of overriding collective bargaining agreements in approving railroad mergers.

All signatories agreed to abide by the agreement until its terms are enacted into law, with all signatories actively supporting such legislation.

Under the new agreement, if there is a consolidation or coordination of work, then the union(s) involved will decide which agreement will apply if more than one applies.

In addition, when seniority rosters integrated, the carrier must give deference to the seniority integration plan developed by the union(s).

The unions signing on to the agreement were BLE, BMWE, BRS, IAM, TCU, TWU, and the Sheetmetal workers. The carrier group included BNSF, CSX, KCS, NS and UP.

Full text of the agreement is available on the BLE website at:



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March 22, 2001


2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers