Tentative national contract reached
On February 28, the Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition (RLBC), comprised of the members of seven rail labor unions, reached a tentative agreement on a national contract with the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC), which represents the interests of America's freight rail corporations.
The tentative agreement's five-year term includes wage increases of 17 percent and ensures controls on health care co-payments. In the next month, ballot materials will be mailed out to members for ratification.
"I congratulate the Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition for standing tall in these negotiations," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "This is a rallying day for rail labor. After 30 years, it's a sign of labor's strength that union members from seven rail unions were able to effect a pro-worker agreement from the rail corporations. Being an essential link in the global supply chain, we knew all along that railroads were profitable, and now our members can benefit from their prosperity."
The NCCC represents the interests of CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Kansas City Southern.
"More than 65,000 union rail members working on freight rail lines across America were well represented at the bargaining table by the RLBC," Hoffa said.
The BLET held a meeting on March 20 in Kansas City, Mo., providing detailed information to the Advisory Board, General Chairmen and State Legislative Board Chairmen. Additionally, a packet of information explaining the tentative agreement in detail will be sent to each member as part of his or her ratification ballot. It is expected that the agreement will become effective June 1, 2007, if ratified by the members.
The RLBC's members include the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED), divisions of the Teamsters Rail Conference. The RLBC also includes members of the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the Sheet Metal Workers, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and the American Train Dispatchers Association.
"We reached a positive outcome because of our unity," said Don Hahs, BLET National President. "It was a team effort with all RLBC unions working together toward one goal - negotiating a strong contract for our members."
"This agreement is a good example of the power of unity and solidarity," said Fred Simpson, President of the BMWED and Teamsters Vice President-elect. "No single union could have achieved this outcome standing alone. I am proud of the RLBC unions and their members who stood strong together throughout this difficult round of bargaining."
© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen