Eight non-operating unions reach tentative agreement at Amtrak
On January 18, a coalition of eight Amtrak non-operating unions signed a tentative contract agreement with Amtrak, which basically adopts the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board 242.
The BLET is not a party to the agreement or PEB. General Chairman Mark Kenny extended "sincere congratulations to the unions involved in making such a strong and persuasive case before the PEB."
The White House made public the recommendations of PEB 242 on January 3. The tentative agreement adopts PEB's recommended wage settlement, which amounts to increases of 35.2% over the period January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2009.
The tentative agreement also includes the Board's recommendation that employees receive back pay, in the form of retroactive wage payments, to compensate for the eight years they had been without a wage increase. The PEB indicated that payments could vary per employee from a low of $5,139 to a high of $34,433, with the average being $12,800. The agreement provides that retroactive wages be paid out in two installments of 40% and 60% each, one year apart.
General Chairmen Kenny said the BLET-Amtrak GCA Executive Committee "is studying the specific recommendations made by the Board, as they will certainly influence and shape where and how the BLET bargaining strategy will proceed in the short term. Furthermore, once the details of the tentative agreements reached are made publicly available, we will be comprehensively reviewing those terms so as to fully anticipate and respond to whatever Amtrak's position at the bargaining table may be. The General Committee fully recognizes that the last eight years of this bargaining stalemate has been a very long and difficult struggle for all our Members, and their families, who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to keep Amtrak afloat during truly uncertain times. Our Members deserve nothing less than to be compensated with a fair and equitable collective bargaining agreement that allows them the means to stay ahead of the ever growing economic difficulties plaguing countless hard working families throughout the United States. Furthermore, we are wholly resolved to delivering our Membership a contract that will meet with their approval for ratification, and we ask their continued patience and support as that process continues to unfold. As information relevant to the bargaining process is developed, it will be timely passed along to the Membership via our Regional and Division Local Chairmen through normal communication channels," he said.
As this issue goes to press, it is expected the tentative agreement will be mailed to Amtrak members of the eight unions in late January. Each union will then go through its own constitutionally-mandated ratification processes, and it is expected that results will be made available to the public in late February or early March.
© 2008 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen