US – One third of all rail workers are represented by the United Transportation Union whose leaders have just agreed terms on wages, working conditions and employment benefits for the next five years, subject to ratification by its members, with the largest rail freight carriers in the country.
The agreement, described as ‘tentative’ by the United Transportation Union (UTU) must be ratified by the 38,000 members of each affected UTU craft under the craft-autonomy provisions of the UTU constitution. The employers, including Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, CSX and Burlington Northern (BNSF), were represented by the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC), a division of the National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC).
The agreement is a big step to stabilising employment relations in an industry which faces a battle with road haulage for existing levels of freight tonnage. The rail freight carriers still face already protracted negotiations with two other employee coalitions, talks which stretch back to the beginning of last year with a total of thirteen rail unions are involved overall with thirty rail carriers represented by the NCCC.
Precise details of the agreement between the UTU and the railroads have not been formally released but union bosses have invited questions from members to explain how the workforce will be affected prior to the formal ratification ballot.Photo:- Terms of employment on the railroads were somewhat different 150 years ago.