BLET keeps top health care plan in new PATH contract

Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen ratified a six-year contract with the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH) in late May.

The agreement covers 166 members and provides six years of wage increases at 3 percent per year, which includes retroactive payments to 2005. The contract also provides increases in pension contributions each year and continues health and welfare coverage that is 100 percent employer-paid.

According to BLET Vice President Marcus J. Ruef, who helped negotiate the contract, the BLET sought the services of the National Mediation Board (NMB) when negotiations stalled regarding the issue of health care cost sharing.

"BLET General Chairman Ralph Nunziato and his committee deserve high praise for involving the service of the NMB and producing a real wage increase while maintaining important fringe benefits," Vice President Ruef said.

In particular, he thanked NMB Staff Mediator Zachery Jones for his efforts in bringing the parties together.

"Mediator Zachery Jones really brought the Parties together and got them to see middle ground," Ruef said. "When both sides listen to the mediator with an open mind, fair agreements can be reached that serve both parties' interests."

General Chairman Nunziato thanked Vice President Ruef for his assistance, and praised the members of his negotiating team for their extreme dilligence, including Vice General Chairman John Kochenash and Gerald Orrico of BLET Division 497.

PATH was formed in 1908 as the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad connecting Manhattan with New Jersey through the famous "Hudson Tubes," which were the first Hudson tunnels. It is a publicly owned rapid transit/commuter railroad connecting Manhattan with Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark, N.J. It is a third rail, 600 volt DC system using MU passenger cars that are very similar to the equipment used by the New York City subway system.

The heavy rail transit system serves as the primary transit link between Manhattan and neighboring New Jersey urban communities and suburban railroads. PATH carries 227,000 passengers each weekday.

This volume is expected to continue to increase with the anticipated growth in regional residential, commercial and business development. PATH provided 66.9 million annual passenger trips in 2006.




© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen