CN reaches another ground-breaking agreement with BLE

Canadian National (CN) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) announced the signing of a progressive labor agreement covering 415 locomotive engineers who work on CN's former Illinois Central properties in the United States.

The tentative agreement - modeled on one ratified by BLE members on CN's Wisconsin Central Division earlier this year - would eliminate all prior work rules and agreements in exchange for guaranteed time off and job security for all BLE members currently qualified as locomotive engineers. The new agreement would also see engineers paid an hourly wage, a modernization of the mileage- and rule-based compensation system that dates from the era of the steam locomotive but remains standard in the rail industry.

The three-year agreement, which is subject to BLE ratification, would take effect Aug. 1, 2002.

Rick Radek, BLE international vice-president, said: "This agreement mirrors the success we had in negotiating a new compensation model for our members on CN's Wisconsin Central Division. This innovative approach to rail industry wage and working conditions will improve labor relations on the railroad and secure a better balance between work and home life for our members."

E. Hunter Harrison, CN's executive vice-president and chief operating officer, said: "The fresh and innovative thinking displayed by both the BLE and CN labor relations officers is relegating age-old labor-management practices to the past. This is an important step in an industry whose traditionally complex labor agreements for train and engine employees have for years generated misunderstanding and confrontation. With this agreement, CN achieves greatly enhanced employee productivity while BLE members obtain job security and significant lifestyle improvements." ·


© 2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers