Three railroad unions representing about 33,170 workers ratify contracts with largest U.S. freight railroads, bringing total number of ratified union contracts to seven; five other unions have reached tentative agreements

WASHINGTON , January 6, 2012 (press release) – Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen (BLET), the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers (NCFO) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have ratified new contracts with the nation's largest freight railroads. The BLET, NCFO and IBEW, which together represent about 33,170 employees in collective bargaining, began negotiations with the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC) in January 2010.

The agreements implemented recommendations made by Presidential Emergency Board No. 243 (PEB 243), which President Obama appointed in October to help resolve the disputes between the railroads and 11 unions. The agreements bring the number of ratified contracts to seven, representing nearly 90,000 employees or about 68% of those in national handling. The other four ratified contracts are with the United Transportation Union, its Yardmasters Department, the Transportation Communications Union/IAM and the Brotherhood Railway Carmen-Division TCU/IAM.

Five other unions have reached tentative agreements that are awaiting member ratification. The only union without a settlement, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE), has agreed with the railroads to extend the "cooling off" period until February 8, 2012, eliminating the immediate threat of a national rail strike. The railroads are making every effort to reach an agreement with the BMWE by February 8.

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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