BLET, PHL Reach Retention Agreement (UPDATED)

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
(Image Courtesy of BLET)

(Image Courtesy of BLET)

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) on Jan. 26 reported securing a retention agreement, including up to $18,000 in bonus payments, for its approximately 200 members working at Anacostia Rail Holdings’ Pacific Harbor Line (PHL).

The PHL Employee Retention Program, signed by BLET General Chairman Brian Carr on Jan. 17, rewards Division 214 members in Long Beach, Calif., “with substantial bonus payments for maintaining employment with the railroad,” which operates over 96 track miles and provides rail transportation, maintenance, and dispatching services for the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, according to the union.

BLET General Chairman Brian Carr and Division 214 Local Chairman Jose Covarrubias (pictured) “invested significant time and energy working with PHL management to negotiate the deal,” BLET reported.

Qualifying members can earn up to $18,000 in bonus payments if they meet program requirements over the next two years, BLET reported. They will earn up to $8,000 in bonus payments between Jan. 1, 2024, and Dec. 31, 2025, and an additional $10,000 bonus if PHL is selected by the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach as the switching company for the ports after Jan. 1, 2026. These bonus payments are in addition to the negotiated rates of pay under the BLET’s collective bargaining agreement with PHL, according to the union.

“PHL and its employees represented by the BLET share a common interest in the retention of qualified locomotive engineers… to provide excellent customer service,” the new agreement reads, in part, the union reported.

“This is a win for BLET members,” General Chairman Carr said. “Professional locomotive engineers play a major role in the success of any railroad, and this agreement recognizes the valuable contributions made by BLET members.”

“This agreement provides a foundation to retain and reward the workforce of PHL,” Assigned National Vice President Garrison Best said. “The efforts of General Chairman Carr and [Division 214 Local Chairman Jose] Covarrubias Covarrubias reinforce that the supply chain is directly impacted by BLET members. I am proud to have assisted in finalizing an agreement that recognizes that.”

Anacostia Rail Holdings President and CEO P.A. (Peter) Gilbertson

“Pacific Harbor Line has worked closely with the BLET for years to recruit and train a safe and productive work force,” Anacostia Rail Holdings President and CEO P.A. (Peter) Gilbertson said in a Jan. 29 statement to Railway Age. “We initiated the incentive plan to encourage the continued service of these valued employees. We appreciate our employees and the support of BLET.”

PHL, Railway Age’s 2009 Short Line of the Year, signed a five-year contract with BLET in fall 2020.

Further Reading on PHL, Anacostia Rail Holdings

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