BLET, PHL reach contract agreement

Pacific Harbor Line, Inc. (PHL) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) have signed a new four-year labor agreement covering PHL's operating and maintenance of way employees.

Signed May 12 after a year and a half of negotiations, the pact substantially increases employees' basic rates of pay, introduces payments for extended hours, enhances eligibility to the 401K plan, and provides a signing bonus and other improvements.

BLET's Division 214 in Long Beach, Calif., has represented PHL's employees since the railroad was formed in 1998. Union employment has grown from 27 employees initially to nearly 100 in the past seven years.

PHL President Andrew Fox said, "The union was determined, but also realistic in helping us to get this agreement done. Our employees have earned these contract improvements by building this company. At the same time, our customers will benefit from the flexibility and productivity features covered by the new pact."

"It took us three tries to get this agreement right," said BLET General Chairman Pat Williams. "But in the end, the company made some essential changes, which allowed us to achieve ratification."

Besides General Chairman Williams, the BLET would like recognize the invaluable efforts of Vice President Steve Speagle and Division 214 President Marlon Taylor and Local Chairman Alvin Sykes. The PHL negotiating team included Andrew Fox and Vice President Bill Roufs.

The BLET is a member of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and represents more than 59,000 employees in the United States. Its predecessor union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, was the senior national labor organization in the United States and also North America's oldest rail labor union.

PHL provides railroad switching services to customers in the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. It also dispatches all BNSF Railway and Union Pacific trains within the ports. PHL is a subsidiary of Anacostia Rail Holding, a firm that operates local and regional freight railroads.



© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen