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BLET members have voted in favor of an implementing agreement regarding the Canadian National-Illinois Central Railway’s (CN-IC) acquisition of the Iowa Northern Railway. Ballots were tabulated on May 30, 2024.

The 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.

Collective bargaining rights for the Iowa Northern locomotive engineers now fall under the jurisdiction of the BLET’s CN-IC General Committee of Adjustment, which now represents about 550 active members. General Chairman Billy Evans described the acquisition 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 Iowa Northern and its customers to its portfolio. 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.

Photo courtesy of Cory Rusch, BLET Division 659