Members ratify agreement on MBCR

Amtrak General Chairman Mark B. Kenny reported that members on the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR) have overwhelmingly ratified a new collective bargaining agreement.

Eighty-five percent of eligible voters returned ballots, and 82 percent of those were in favor of the agreement.

The new contract provides for wage increases that total more than 20 percent over five years and includes a $1,000 signing bonus, in addition to many other benefits for BLE members working on MBCR.

BLE President Don Hahs said, "General Chairman Kenny and Division 57 Local Chairman Mike O'Bryan did an excellent job in negotiating an agreement that was so overwhelmingly accepted by the membership. I commend him on his successful efforts."

The agreement covers nearly 200 BLE members.

In late 2002, the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company (MBCR) was awarded a $1.07 billion, 5-year contract to operate and maintain the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) commuter rail system, comprised of 13 rail lines covering 350 route miles. The previous operator was Amtrak. MBCR operations are scheduled to begin on July 1, 2003. The BLE negotiators were up against a deadline and needed to have the new agreement in place by July 1.

"This was a unique negotiating scenario with a new employer," General Chairman Kenney said. "I am pleased with the results, which came about through a great deal of effort and perseverance."

MBCR is a partnership among three leading transportation companies: Connex North America, Bombardier and Alternate Concepts, Inc.



© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers