Pacific Harbor Line, Inc. (PHL), and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) have signed a new five-year labor agreement covering PHL's operating and maintenance-of-way employees.
The pact was ratified by PHL employees and signed July 4. It included significant wage increases, employee contribution to health care, as well as modification of some rules concerning profit sharing, overtime, the selection of job assignments and productivity.
BLET’s Division 214 in Long Beach, Calif., has represented PHL’s employees since the railroad was formed in 1998. Union employment on this property has grown from 27 employees initially to nearly 120 in the past 15 years.
PHL President Otis Cliatt II said, “This was a win-win agreement reflecting teamwork, persistence and determination by both parties. PHL and its workforce are committed to providing stellar freight railroad service to the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and the San Pedro Bay Port community.”
“Sometimes the wheels of progress move slowly and it took us a few years to get this agreement right,” said BLET General Chairman Bill Hannah, “But in the end, the company made some essential changes and we negotiated the best agreement possible for our membership, which allowed us to achieve ratification.”
Hannah said a key component of the agreement is an enhanced profit sharing provision, which greatly improves the earning power of BLET members.