BLET Ratifies Agreements With KCS, DM&E, Union Railroad

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) on March 3 ratified an implementing agreement with Kansas City Southern (KCS) and Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern (DM&E), as well as a new collective bargaining agreement with the Union Railroad of Pittsburg, Pa.

According to BLET, the implementing agreement with KCS and DM&E, which governs all locomotive engineers employed by the DM&E, a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific (CP); all active members in BLET Division 527; and those employed by the Gateway Western Railroad who work within the Consolidated Territory (which encompasses tracks from Ottumwa, Iowa, to Pittsburgh, Kans., and East St. Louis, Mo.), will only become effective should the Surface Transportation Board (STB) approve, as largely expected, the merger of Canadian Pacific (CP) and KCS.

A significant change for some engineers is that the new agreement, BLET says, will pay for hours worked without regard to mileage run. As a result, engineers will see varying degrees of increases to their rates of pay with some engineers seeing at least a 12% increase in pay for their service. In addition, engineers will see increased pay for being held at the away-from-home-terminal, meal allowances and vacation pay. All of this is based on the current rates for KCS, which were just increased by 14%.

According to BLET, the union has agreed to expand seniority rights to all engineers in the consolidated territory. However, all engineers, BLET says, will have prior rights to their current seniority district and cannot be displaced by an engineer from an adjacent seniority district. If, however, an engineer can hold a job on one of the other two districts, they can voluntarily exercise that right.

Finally, BLET says every engineer will be protected from loss of earnings because of the merger. Each engineer will be automatically certified for New York Dock protection and, should an engineer earn less than their average monthly earnings (as determined by his or her monthly average over the preceding 12 months), the railroad will have to make up the difference by issuing a protective payment.

The BLET negotiating team consisted of KCS General Chairman David Spradlin, Gateway Western General Chairman Billy Evans, CP/DM&E General Chairman Nick Mugavero, National Vice President Alan Holdcraft, recently retired National Vice President Marcus Ruef, and recently elected National Vice President Pete Semenek.

BLET’s four-year agreement with the Union Railroad provides General Wage increase of 16% with back pay payment made within 60 days of ratification. The agreement, BLET says, also provides up to seven weeks of vacation and an employer match of 401(k) contributions up to $2,000. The contract also provides up to three additional personal leave days per year.

The BLET’s Union Railroad members belong to Division 16, which is the Brotherhood’s Short Line Division. Brother Randy Fannon, the National Vice President assigned to the Union Railroad, said the negotiating team consisted of Union Railroad Grievance Chairman Steve Linn and recently retired National Vice President Mike Twombly.

BLET National President Eddie Hall

National President Eddie Hall thanked all involved for their hard work on behalf of the BLET’s KCS, DM&E, Gateway Western and Union Railroad membership.

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