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Friday, November 06, 2009

BNSF, BLET reach tentative agreement

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BNSF has reached a tentative agreement with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen to settle wage and work rule matters concerning BNSF's locomotive engineers for the major round of collective bargaining that will begin Jan. 1, 2010.

The agreement will settle wage and work rule issues through Dec. 31, 2014. Health and welfare issues, however, will be addressed in upcoming industry-wide negotiations.

BLET will release details of the new agreement to its membership as part of the ratification process. However, the agreement affords a general wage increase in each year of the contract, all the while reflecting today's economic realities.

Stephen Speagle, BLET vice president assigned to work with BNSF said, "The agreement is not all we wanted, no agreement ever is, but in this time of economic troubles and hardship, it is an honor for me and for the four BLET general chairmen to be able to present to our members a proposal that gives them the security of a five-year agreement, additional income and additional time off without a single giveback or rule change."

John Fleps, BNSF's vice president, labor relations, congratulated Steve Speagle and his negotiating team on another solid achievement.

"In both 2003 and 2007, BLET and BNSF worked successfully to develop innovative compensation arrangements and progressive work rules that have done much to position our company and locomotive engineers to reap the benefits of new technology and generally share in a strong future," Fleps said. "We are pleased to build on those accomplishments, again partnering with BLET in advancing our mutual interests, especially during this period of economic uncertainty and challenge."

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