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Amtrak, CPKC Reach Agreements with Unions

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) has reached a tentative agreement with Amtrak. Meanwhile, members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division-International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED-IBT) on Canadian Pacific Kansas City’s (CPKC) Soo-Milw. Line have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement.

BLET announced Nov. 10 that it has reached a tentative contract agreement for more than 1,400 locomotive engineers who operate Amtrak’s passenger and commuter trains over its 21,000-mile, 46-state route system.

The seven-year tentative agreement includes full retroactive payments dating to July 1, 2022, and if ratified, will run through 2028. Highlights of the deal include:

  • 30% general wage increase (34.12% compounded).
  • 10 weeks of paid parental leave.
  • A significant increase in away-from-home expenses.
  • Improvement to bereavement leave, transitioning from 3 calendar days to 3 working days.
  • Addition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday double current certification allowance.

TrueBallot, Inc., will conduct the balloting process. Ballots will be mailed on Nov. 15, and will be counted on Dec. 6, 2023, with results announced later that day.

In related news, BMWED-IBT members of the Burlington System Division (BSD) on CPKC’s Soo-Milw. Line announced Nov. 10 that they have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with the Class I railroad.

According to the union, the BSD members on the Soo-Milw. were “extremely engaged” throughout the process and that diligence has led to significant improvements to the contract. Especially noteworthy, BMWED-IBT says, was the voter turnout during the ratification process, which topped 80%.

“During this round of voting the CP membership turned out in unprecedented numbers with an 84% voter turnout. This truly shows their engagement in this process and that they are indeed paying attention,” said BSD General Chairman George Loveland. “With this three-year contract the CP Members will receive a 15.5% wage increase with significant improvements in travel expenses with no concessions on their part.”

Reaching a new contract is a “significant victory,” the union says, but Loveland wants to encourage the Soo-Milw. members “to continue their impressive engagement to press for further achievements on the property.”

“It has been an uphill battle with CP to get to this point but the membership’s perseverance and insistence on getting a fair contract got us to this point without having to give up their work rules to get what they deserve,” said Loveland. “This victory is short lived because in a year or less we will be back at the bargaining table starting all over again. In the interim, we plan on engaging CPKC to hopefully get some further agreements accomplished, such as sick leave and CDL deals. That would help greatly in speeding up the next round when we once again start bargaining over wages.”

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