BLET members on CN's former GTW territory ratify new contract

CN and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) announced the ratification of a new labor agreement by BLET members on the railroad's former Grand Trunk Western (GTW) territory in the United States.

In contrast with traditional mileage- and rule-based wage systems dating back to the steam locomotive era, this agreement, effective Feb. 9, 2004, provides hourly wages, job guarantees and more flexible work rules for 250 current BLET members on the GTW through Aug. 31, 2005.

E. Hunter Harrison, president and chief executive officer of CN, said: "Our innovative, hourly-rated labor contracts for train and engine employees will make CN a more efficient, customer-focused railroad, while providing employees increased pay, job security and a better balance between work and home lives.

"To date, CN has secured hourly-rated labor agreements in the United States covering 1,930 T&E personnel ­ almost 85 per cent of this employee population."

BLET National President Don M. Hahs recognized the efforts of BLET Vice President Paul T. Sorrow and General Chairman John Karakian for negotiating the breakthrough agreement.

"The BLET, which recently merged with the Interanational Brotherhood of Teamsters, is at the forefront of negotiating groundbreaking labor agreements that boost the quality of life of our membership while, at the same time, increasing their levels of pay," President Hahs said. "More than 61 percent of our membership at GTW voted in favor of this contract, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Paul Sorrow and John Karakian."

The GTW's main line between Port Huron, Mich., and Chicago is a key link in CN's corridor between the U.S. Midwest, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.


© 2004 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen