Labor Agreements Ratified at CN, CSX, Metrolink

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Unifor reaches agreements with CN. Pictured: CN master bargaining committee. (CNW Group/Unifor)

Unifor reaches agreements with CN. Pictured: CN master bargaining committee. (CNW Group/Unifor)

CN has reached new collective agreements with Unifor, its largest union, covering approximately 3,000 Canadian employees. Also, the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division B&O (SMART-TD B&O) has ratified a paid sick leave agreement at CSX, and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1277’s multi-year successor collective bargaining agreement has been approved at Metrolink, the 538-route mile regional/commuter rail system that spans six Southern California counties.

At CN, four collective agreements were ratified in late April, covering Unifor Local 100 members in the mechanical shops and Council 4000 intermodal, clerical, mechanics and excavator operator members. Unifor’s two national bargaining committees opened negotiations with the Class I in October 2022 and reached tentative collective agreements in March. The new contract will expire Dec. 31, 2024.

“We are pleased that Unifor members have ratified these agreements,” CN President and CEO Tracy Robinson said. “Despite the diverse crafts represented by this union, we have been successful in improving alignment on our path forward to deliver better and safer service.”

The agreements, added Unifor National President Lana Payne, represent “a significant step forward for our CN members, including important improvements in wages, benefits and job security. I commend the Unifor Council 4000 and Local 100 committees for their determination and resolve. They did an outstanding job, and I congratulate them for their relentless attention to detail and their unconditional care for rail members.”

The 2,400 SMART-TD B&O-represented conductors and trainmen on CSX Northern line signed off on a paid sick-leave agreement on April 28. This follows a tentative agreement reached in early April.

This new agreement also adopts the current attendance policy put in place by CSX.

“Railroads in the past have been reluctant to negotiate attendance and this is another first for the operating workforce as it subjects the former policy (now agreement) to negotiations if any changes are desired by either the carrier or the employees in the future,” the union reported. “In return, the carrier gained flexibility and cost savings through provisions that allow conductors and trainmen to drive company-provided vehicles under certain conditions and also settled a long-term dispute between the SMART-TD and CSX regarding assignment placement.”

“This agreement is a testament to our commitment to working with our railroaders to find solutions that improve their work experience,” CSX reported.

SMART-TD General Chairperson Richard Lee said it is “encouraging that SMART-TD and CSX leadership were able to sit down at the table and reach a consensus on items as important as these. I am hopeful this momentum will carry forward in future negotiations and help us collectively improve the working conditions and overall moral at CSX.”

In a related development, CSX on April 7 reported reaching an agreement with the SMART-Mechanical Department to provide paid sick leave benefits.

At Metrolink, the Board of Directors on April 28 unanimously approved a three-and-one-half-year successor collective bargaining agreement with ATU Local 1277. It includes a 15% salary increase over the contract’s term, which runs through June 30, 2026.

This is the second agreement between the agency and represented employees, covering wages, benefits and working conditions for 47 ATU Metrolink employees, Metrolink reported. The represented employees include rail traffic coordinators, rail traffic controllers, communications coordinators, senior customer relations representatives, and customer relations representatives. They comprise 16% of the Metrolink’s 285-person workforce.

“I’m glad that Metrolink and our represented team members reached this agreement,” Metrolink CEO Darren Kettle said. “This ensures a continued safe and customer-focused level of service for our riders.”

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