Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Three more unions ratify freight railroad agreements

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

Members of three more unions have ratified new contracts with U.S. freight railroads, it was announced Tuesday.

The unions include: The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Blacksmiths, Iron Ship Builders, Forgers and Helpers; the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; and the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association . All three unions, which together represent approximately 9,000 employees in this bargaining round, began negotiations with the railroads’ bargaining representative, the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), in January 2010.

“We’re pleased that these three unions, like the five before them, have ratified their agreements, which implement the balanced terms recommended by the Presidential Emergency Board after carefully weighing the parties’ positions,” said A. Kenneth Gradia, chairman of the NCCC, which represents more than 30 railroads, including Class I railroads BNSF, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific.

Freight railroads now have ratified agreements with 10 of the 13 unions in national bargaining, representing nearly 100,000 employees. Two other unions have reached tentative agreements that are still in the ratification process. The only union without a settlement, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE), has agreed with the railroads to extend the “cooling off” period until Feb. 8, 2012, eliminating the immediate threat of a national rail strike.