INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, December 7 — Today, members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) by an 84.97% supermajority.
The new 4-year agreement governs rates of pay, health and welfare and pension benefits, and work rules for approximately 500 locomotive engineers.
LIRR General Chairman Kevin J. Sexton characterized the negotiations as difficult. He noted that this round was interrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the union applied to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for the assignment of a federal mediator in early 2021.
“I am pleased that the parties reached an agreement that the membership determined to ratify,” Brother Sexton said. “I appreciate the assistance of Vice President Louis and our assigned mediator, A. M. Tosi. I want to thank the LIRR’s newly appointed Deputy Chief Labor Relations Officer, Kelli Coughlin, for her hard work bringing this round to a close.”
BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce thanked all negotiating team members, including General Chairman Sexton, Vice President James P. Louis, First Vice General Chairman Eric Martin, and Second Vice General Chairman Gilman Lang.
“An impressive 73.77% of our Long Island Rail Road members took the time to participate and make their voices heard on this agreement,” President Pierce said. “Our LIRR Brothers and Sisters risked their personal safety and the health of their families as they worked tirelessly through the pandemic. I thank them for their professionalism and dedication to our craft, and their high level of participation in the ratification process.”