BLET Ratifies CP/Soo Line, Springfield Terminal AgreementsWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) has ratified a new five-year contract with Canadian Pacific’s (CP) Soo Line subsidiary as well as the Springfield Terminal implementing agreement.
After reaching a tentative agreement last month, BLET on March 10 said the new CP/Soo Line contract provides 22% General Wage Increases (GWIs) over the life of the agreement: 3% retroactive for 2020, 3.5% retroactive for 2021, 7% retroactive for 2022, 4% increase in 2023, and 4.5% increase in 2024. It also provides five $1,000 annual lump sum bonus payments to be made over the life of the agreement. “When compounded, the GWI equates to 24% and will increase approximately 300 members’ straight-time hourly rate to $61.98 by September 2024,” according to the union. Additionally, the agreement includes one extra personal leave day per year. Health and welfare benefits remain nationally negotiated. The agreement becomes amendable effective Jan. 1, 2025, BLET reported.
Separately, 60 BLET members employed by the Springfield Terminal Railway Company (ST), an affiliate of Pan Am Railways, on March 10 ratified a New York Dock Implementing Agreement with the ST and Pittsburgh and Shawmut Railroad LLC, a Genesee & Wyoming subsidiary doing business as Berkshire & Eastern Railroad (B&E), according to BLET.
As part of CSX’s 2022 acquisition of Pan Am Railways, B&E will operate, under the B&E name, the Pan Am Southern, which comprises some 425 miles of rail lines and trackage rights routes, including main lines between Ayer, Mass., and Albany, N.Y, that provide both CSX and Norfolk Southern (NS) access to the Boston area.
“The implementing agreement addresses changes in operations resulting from the [merger] transaction and applies protective conditions,” BLET reported. “In addition, the implementing agreement sets forth the process to divide the workforce between ST and B&E and defines the limits of the railroads after the change over date.”
CSX in spring 2022 completed its Pan Am Railways acquisition. Pan Am expands CSX’s reach in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts, while adding Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to its existing 23-state network. Headquartered in North Billerica, Mass., Pan Am had owned and operated a nearly 1,200-mile rail network across New England, with a partial interest in the Pan Am Southern that it had jointly owned with NS (see map below).
In its April 14, 2022 decision, the Surface Transportation Board wrote that it approved CSX’s application “to acquire control of seven rail carriers owned by Pan Am Systems, Inc., and Pan Am Railways, Inc., and to merge six of those railroads into … [CSX]. The Board also approves six related transactions, allowing Norfolk Southern Railway Company to acquire trackage rights over certain lines of four other railroads [CSX, Providence & Worcester Railroad Company (a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming), Boston & Maine, and Pan Am Southern; these trackage rights agreements would create a new route for NS to move intermodal and automobile trains from Voorheesville in eastern New York State to Ayer]; allowing Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad, LLC d/b/a Berkshire & Eastern Railroad [a subsidiary of G&W], to replace Springfield Terminal [an affiliate of Pan Am Railways] as the operator of Pan Am Southern LLC; and allowing SMS Rail Lines of New York, LLC, to discontinue service and terminate its lease of a rail line between Delanson, N.Y., and Voorheesville, N.Y.”