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BLET members ratify new contracts with W&LE

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, January 21 — Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) overwhelmingly ratified two new collective bargaining agreements with the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway (W&LE) — one for the craft of locomotive engineer and one for the craft of trainman. Each seven-year agreement governs work rules, rates of pay, and health & welfare issues for approximately 75 locomotive engineers and over 130 trainmen. Ballots were counted on January 18.

A 79 percent majority of voting members ratified the engineer contract, while an 80 percent majority of voting members ratified the trainman contract.

The agreements run through 2026 and provide significant signing bonuses based on years of service. The engineer’s agreement provides general wage increases of 65.4 percent over the life of the agreement while the conductor’s agreement provides a 62.9 percent general wage increase.

Most significantly, the agreement contains no harmful work rule changes to either craft.

BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce thanked recently retired National Vice President Cole W. Davis, NS-W&LE General Chairman Randy Fannon, and their negotiating team for bringing the negotiations to a successful conclusion.

“This is a significant victory for our members and for our Brotherhood,” President Pierce said. “I am proud to thank Brother Davis and Brother Fannon for their leadership and thank our W&LE members for their perseverance and for taking the time to vote during the balloting process.”

The negotiating process began over seven years ago when the BLET served Section 6 notices on January 5, 2012.

“I want to thank our Brothers for the solidarity they have shown throughout this lengthy process,” General Chairman Fannon said. “They have remained united and steadfast through the mediation, the strike, and the fight.”

Headquartered in Brewster, Ohio, the W&LE incorporates approximately 840 miles of trackage in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland. The W&LE handles over 140,000 carloads annually and interchanges with three Class I railroads (CSX, Canadian National and Norfolk Southern) and 16 regional, short line and switching railroads.

Monday, January 21, 2019
bentley@ble-t.org

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