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BLET members ratify new SEPTA contract

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, August 18 — By a 91 percent majority, approximately 200 members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen ratified a new two-year contract agreement with SEPTA in late May 2016.

The two-year agreement runs through March 2, 2018. It governs rates of pay, work rules and health care, and provides important quality of life improvements for BLET members.

Members will see general wage increases of 2 percent in 2016 and 3 percent in 2017, while also receiving increased pay for single day vacations. Health care, pension, FMLA and other employee benefits were extended to same sex spouses under the new agreement without increases in out of pocket costs or copays.

BLET members also approved a comprehensive change to SEPTA’s Locomotive Engineer instructor program. The BLET’s SEPTA General Committee of Adjustment (GCA) is now contractually involved in the design of the training program. Pay for engineers working as instructors will increase from 50 cents per hour to $34.11 per day when they provide on-the-job training to engineer trainees. It represents an increase of 850 percent and the $34.11 rate is subject to future general wage increases. The new contract provides safeguards for instructor engineers’ FRA certification while instructing trainees.

The parties also came to an understanding addressing turn times in between assignments to help improve the quality of life for locomotive engineers. Additionally, many SEPTA locomotive engineers are forced to work six days per week due to chronic manpower shortages, and the parties agreed to change some work schedules from six-day to five-day assignments. It is hoped that the improved Locomotive Engineer instructor program will help reduce SEPTA’s manpower shortage.

“This agreement is a great accomplish in addressing the quality of life and scheduling issues that many of our SEPTA members experience,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “This, along with changes in the Locomotive Engineer instructor program that provides the SEPTA GCA contractual rights in the program, will allow BLET members to reap benefits for years to come.”

President Pierce thanked all SEPTA members for their solidarity throughout negotiations and their active involvement in the ratification process. He also thanked the negotiating team of National Vice President Jim Louis; General Chairman Rich Dixon; Vice General Chairman Don Hill; and Vice General Chairman Paul Osciak.

“It was a honor to work alongside such a great team of union brothers,” Vice President Louis said.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is the regional public transportation system for the Philadelphia area, serving approximately 3.9 million people.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

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