Rail labor, carriers reach 'cram down' deal

A group of seven rail labor unions and six freight railroads reached agreement on March 21 to end the practice known as "cram down," 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 the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Transportation Communications International Union (including TCU's Carmen's Division) and Transport Workers Union. The carrier group included Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Canadian Pacific, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.

Full text of the agreement is available at:

2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers