Details of tentative national contract

A complete copy of the BLE's tentative national agreement with the National Carriers' Conference Committee is published in this issue of the Locomotive Engineer Newsletter.

The agreement includes a $1,200 longevity bonus, a lump sum payment of $774 for eligible employees, and future and retroactive wage increases.

The first general wage increase is four percent on all daily rates of pay retroactive to July 1, 2002. The second general wage increase is 2.5 percent retroactive to July 1, 2003. The third general wage increase is 2.5 percent on July 1, 2004. Also effective July 1, 2004, in lieu of an addition one half percent general wage increase, the carriers will remit $40 per month to defray the cost of the BLE to insure a short-term disability plan.

Some of the retroactive pay increases will be used to offset retroactive increases in the cost of health care benefits. Even after the total retroactive health and welfare costs are paid, the retroactive pay should be between $3,000 and $4,000, based on previous wage earnings of at least $60,000 per year. This number will go up or down depending on each individual's earnings during the pay period.

Retroactive to July 1, 2001, each employee will contribute $33.39 per month. Retroactive to July 1, 2002, each employee will contribute $81.18. Retroactive to July 1, 2003, each employee will contribute $79.74. Effective July 1, 2004, each employee will contribute an amount equal to 30 percent of the increase (if any) that the carriers will pay monthly in 2004 over the 2003 monthly rate, or $20.26, which ever is less.

The tentative pact also calls for a new pay system implementing trip rates for employees. The amount of pay employees will receive from trip rates will be calculated over a 12-month test period by General Committees on individual railroads.

The following pay elements will be in each trip rate: pay for mileage or time; pay for terminal/departure/yard runarounds; pay for conversion to local freight rates; pay in lieu of meal periods and penalties for violations of rules relating to eating en route; pay for being required to step up in the pool; pay for initial terminal delay, final terminal delay, deadheading, terminal switching.

The BLE International Division (ID) is in the process of printing and mailing a contract synopsis and ballot as this issue of the Newsletter goes to press. The documents will be mailed out incrementally as they are printed, beginning on November 20. They are due at the ID no later than December 15 and the counting of ballots will begin on December 16.

The contract synopsis and ballot will be mailed in accordance with Section 43(a)-Standing Rules of the BLE Constitution & Bylaws.

In addition to being mailed, the synopsis was also posted on the BLE website at:

A list of agreed-to Questions and Answers was also be posted on the BLE website at:



© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers