BLET, Amtrak reach tentative pact

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen initialed a tentative contract agreement with Amtrak on July 19, ending a 7-year stalemate.

The tentative agreement would run through September 2010 and provide wage increases for 1,300 locomotive engineers who operate passenger trains over Amtrak's 21,000 mile, 46-state route system.

Engineers with 2,000 hours of service would receive a $4,500 signing bonus. Those with less than 2,000 hours would receive pro-rated bonuses. All engineers would receive 10 general wage increases, seven of them rolled into a single increase on October 1, 2007. Three additional wage increases - two in 2008 and one in 2009 - would give engineers an approximate pay increase of 33 percent over the life of the agreement.

Engineers would also see their certification pay double from $5 to $10 per start.

BLET General Chairman Mark Kenny worked for years to obtain the agreement, which was often delayed due to the unstable nature of Amtrak's finances. Heightened media scrutiny of the struggles of Amtrak workers, plus increased questioning by leaders on Capitol Hill, added pressure to Amtrak leaders to finally come to an agreement.

Ballots were mailed from the BLET National Division in Cleveland at the end of July, and balloting results will be available on or after August 30.

"Our Amtrak engineers are among the most dedicated Brothers and Sisters in the country," General Chairman Kenny said. "I appreciate their patience as we labored long and hard to achieve an agreement that puts us where we need to be."



© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen