Members of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) have decided not to ratify a collective bargaining agreement with the railways, advocacy groups said on Monday.
IBB members represent around 300 railway workers, many of whom are involved in repairing locomotives.
The IBB rejects the collective agreement together with the Brotherhood of Road Maintenance – Department Employees (BMWED) and the Brotherhood of Railway Wardens (BRS). All three unions send their votes back to the negotiating table.
Meanwhile, members of the two largest unions representing locomotive engineers and train crews – the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD) are voting. this week on whether to ratify their employment contracts. These results are expected to be published next Monday. Both unions represent around half of the more than 100,000 rail workers involved in collective bargaining.
Seven other railway unions have voted to ratify their collective agreements.
When the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the group representing rail freight in the negotiations, received news of the vote, it said it was “disappointed” that IBB members had not ratified the pact.
“This outcome will delay the benefits of the interim agreement for employees represented by IBB, including an immediate 14.1% wage increase and significant retrospective and lump-sum payouts,” NCCC said.
The NCCC and IBB will have a cooling off period until December 9, meaning union members will not be able to engage in self-help activities such as strikes.
“The NCCC will remain in touch with the IBB during the remainder of the deliberation period and will continue to seek an agreement based on the framework recommended by the Presidential Emergency Board 250,” NCCC said, referring to President Joe Biden-appointed three-member board Sommer, who Gathered testimonies from both sides and made recommendations that could serve as a starting point for a new treaty.
The IBB confirmed that it is in a period of reflection after the decision of its members.
“The Boilermakers Union fully expects to continue negotiating a satisfactory contract with the NCCC going forward,” IBB said in a statement to FreightWaves.
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