INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, October 4 — On September 30, an overwhelming majority of participating BLET members ratified an implementing agreement and Oregon Short Line Protective Agreement with BNSF regarding its resumption of service on the Montana Rail Link.
In January, MRL announced it would terminate its lease with BNSF, with BNSF resuming operations on the line. The implementing agreement, negotiated by the BNSF/MRL General Committee of Adjustment with assistance from the National Division, governs BNSF’s hiring of the BLET-represented MRL employees, their seniority, work rules, pay, benefits, and integration into the BNSF system. The implementing agreement and Oregon Short Line Protective Agreement govern approximately 500 BLET members currently working for the MRL.
Among other items, the newly-ratified agreement includes the following provisions:
- Current MRL TY&E employees will be offered employment with BNSF;
- Maintain original MRL hire date for prior right seniority (PRME) on the MRL Subdivision;
- Maintain original MRL hire date for the accrual of vacation and personal leave days;
- Employees will not be forced assigned off of the MRL subdivision;
- Maintain current pool runs;
- Maintain the reverse lodging option for pool crew employees;
- Maintain the 12-24-36 rest option for pool employees;
- Maintain 2-hour call times;
- The engineer extra board will have a rest cycle;
- The MRL will offer a $5,000 bonus for hiring out with the BNSF;
- Health and Welfare coverage on Day 1 with BNSF including Dental and Vision; and
- Maintains a 401K program for employees on Day 1 of their employment with BNSF.
BLET National President Dennis Pierce thanked the membership for their high level of participation and involvement throughout the ratification process.