Back to negotiation table for another railway union

A third railroad union has voted to reject their labor agreement with the freight railroads. On Nov. 14, stakeholders broke the news that the members of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) will not be ratifying the proposed agreement, as reported by Freightwaves.

The main focus of the 300 employees represented by IBB is the repair of damaged locomotives. They join the members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) as those who have rejected labor agreements, sending negotiations back to the table.

Comparatively, seven unions have ratified their agreements. Two of the largest unions, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers Transportation Division (SMART-TD) submit their votes in favor or against this week with results going public on Nov. 21. Together, BLET and SMART-TD represent 100,000 railway employees.

The National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), who represents freight railroads, shared their “disappointment” over IBB’s rejection of the proposed agreement.

“This result will delay the benefits of the tentative agreement for IBB-represented employees, including an immediate 14.1% wage increase and substantial retroactive and lump sum payouts,” NCCC said.

Both IBB and the NCCC will enter a cooling off period until Dec. 9. This prevents the two parties from engaging in any action that could be deemed as “self-help action.” For IBB this includes striking.

“The NCCC will remain engaged with IBB throughout the remaining cooling-off period and will continue to seek an agreement based on the framework recommended by Presidential Emergency Board 250,” NCCC said. The group was referring to the presidentially appointed three-member board that is intended to propose recommendations and help both the unions and the NCCC come up with a satisfactory agreement.

The IBB intends to continue efforts to reach an agreement with NCCC.

“The Boilermakers union fully expects to continue negotiating further toward a satisfactory contract in the future with the NCCC,” IBB said.