UTU Ratifies Accord with Freight Railroads


UTU becomes first rail union to approve agreement in current bargaining round

WASHINGTON (September 2, 2011) – Members of the United Transportation Union (UTU), the largest union in national rail bargaining, and its Yardmasters Department have ratified new contracts with the nation’s largest freight railroads, becoming the first to do so. The UTU, which represents about a third of the railroads’ unionized employees, began negotiations with the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) in January 2010.

“We are pleased that the UTU’s membership has overwhelmingly endorsed its leadership’s commitment to the bargaining process and the resulting mutually beneficial contract,” said A. Kenneth Gradia, Chairman of the NCCC, the railroads’ bargaining agent. “In a tough economy, this contract locks in above-market wage increases of 17% over six years for 40,000 rail employees. It also introduces modest design changes to the railroads’ employee health care plan while freezing employees’ low monthly contributions, ensuring that they continue to receive an outstanding benefits package at a cost to them far below average. Undoubtedly, it sets the pattern for resolution of our national negotiations with the other rail unions.

“Ratification of the agreements demonstrates that collective bargaining continues to work well in the rail industry when both sides are willing to do the hard work necessary to reach agreement,” he added. “Though they have not yet shown such a willingness, we sincerely hope the other unions will follow the UTU’s lead. We remain committed to reaching voluntary agreements with all the unions.”

The NCCC represents more than 30 railroads, including BNSF, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific in national bargaining with the 13 major rail unions.



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