INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, March 3 — BLET members today ratified an implementing agreement with the Kansas City Southern (KCS) and Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern (DM&E) Railroads. The agreement will only become effective should the Surface Transportation Board (STB) decide to allow the merger of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and KCS Railroads.
The agreement governs all locomotive engineers employed by the DM&E, all active members in BLET Division 527, and those employed by the Gateway Western Railroad who work within the Consolidated Territory (which encompasses tracks from Ottumwa, IA, to Pittsburg, KS, and East St. Louis, MO).
A significant change for some engineers is that the new agreement will pay for hours worked without regard to mileage run. As a result, engineers will see varying degrees of increases to their rates of pay with some engineers seeing at least a 12% increase in pay for their service. In addition, engineers will see increased pay for being held at the away-from-home-terminal, meal allowances and vacation pay. All of this is based on the current rates for KCS which were just increased by 14%.
The BLET agreed to expand seniority rights to all engineers in the consolidated territory. However, all engineers will have prior rights to their current seniority district and cannot be displaced by an engineer from an adjacent seniority district. If, however, an engineer can hold a job on one of the other two districts, they can voluntarily exercise that right.
Finally, every engineer will be protected from loss of earnings as a result of the merger. Each engineer will be automatically certified for New York Dock protection and, should an engineer earn less than their average monthly earnings (as determined by his or her monthly average over the preceding 12 months), the railroad will have to make up the difference by issuing a protective payment.
The negotiating team consisted of KCS General Chairman David Spradlin, Gateway Western General Chairman Billy Evans, CP/DM&E General Chairman Nick Mugavero, National Vice President Alan Holdcraft, recently retired National Vice President Marcus Ruef, and recently elected National Vice President Pete Semenek.
National President Eddie Hall thanked all involved for their hard work on behalf of the BLET’s KCS, DM&E and Gateway Western membership.