Union relations: Deals reached between Chicago Rail Link and SMART; Amtrak and BMWED; LACMTA and ATU

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

Trainmen and engineers represented by the United Transportation Union Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (UTU-SMART) and employed by Chicago Rail Link have ratified a new six-year agreement, with 95 percent of the affected employees voting in favor of the deal.


The agreement provides for annual wage increases with full back-pay, retoactive to October 1, 2010; limits employee health and welfare contributions rates; freezes co-pays and deductibles for the life of the contract; improves working conditions; provides bereavement leave, pay for training, rule classes and boot allowances; establishes single-day vacations and preserves guaranteed extra boards.

Chicago Rail Link provides switching and terminal services over 72 miles of trackage in Chicago and customized intermediate switching services through the Chicago Terminal complex. In addition to serving the Port of Chicago, it is the contract-switching operator for CSX at the Bedford Park Intermodal Facility and also provides storage to railcar owners, such as Chicago Freight Car and Helm. It is owned by OmniTRAX, Inc.

In other labor news, a final and binding arbitration decision was reached March 25 between Amtrak maintenance-of-way employees and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED). The agreement goes into affect immediately and includes wage increases that are retroactive to January 1, 2010. BMWED members, active or retired, who earned money during the period in question will be given back pay and Amtrak agrees that there will be no delay in calculating and distributing the back paychecks. 

The arbitration panel also found that three administrative work rules previously agreed to by other crafts (direct deposit of paychecks, biweekly pay and defining the start of the work week with respect to payroll as Monday) to be a part of this newly negotiated agreement with Amtrak.

Additionally, a tentative agreement on a new labor contract has been reached between Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1277, which represents LACMTA’s maintenance employees. An ATU membership vote should take place over the next month.

The last labor contract expired July 1, 2013 and ATU has since honored terms of the old agreement. If approved, the new multi-year pact would be retroactive to last until July 1.


Categories: Intercity, OFF Track Maintenance, Rapid Transit/Light Rail, Shortline/Regional