FRA Certification Helpline: (216) 694-0240

Ballots were mailed last week to BLET members to vote on a tentative implementing agreement regarding Canadian National-Illinois Central Railway’s (CN-IC) acquisition of the Iowa Northern Railway. Ballots were mailed to about 550 members.

The tentative implementing agreement addresses changes in operations and the merging of workforces if the acquisition is approved by the federal Surface Transportation Board. Under the proposed implementing agreement, the BLET’s CN-IC contract would become the applicable collective bargaining agreement for about 20 locomotive engineers currently employed by Iowa Northern. Additional proposed changes are detailed in the ratification packet that was mailed this week.

Ballots are due on Thursday, May 30, 2024. Members who have not received a ballot by May 13, 2024, should request a replacement by calling the BLET National Division at (216) 241-2630, ext. 222. When connected with the extension, please leave the following information:

  • Your name, address and phone number;
  • The division to which you belong;
  • The railroad you work for;
  • Your date of birth; and
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number.

The above information is needed in order to verify membership and eligibility before a ratification packet can be sent.

In December 2023, CN announced plans to purchase the Class III railroad for $230 million. The Iowa Northern operates about 275 miles of track and is based in Waterloo, Iowa. CN said it expects the STB to rule on the merger this fall.

If the tentative implementing agreement is approved, collective bargaining rights for the Iowa Northern locomotive engineers would fall under the jurisdiction of the BLET’s CN-IC General Committee of Adjustment. General Chairman Billy Evans described the situation as a “win-win,” with Iowa Northern engineers gaining more protection and better wages under the BLET contract, and with the CN-IC gaining more business by adding the Iowa Northern and its customers to its portfolio.

Photo courtesy of Cory Rusch, BLET Division 659