Two union groups announced they have ratified agreements with Class I railroad employers CSX and CN.

One of those, a chapter of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD), said it has ratified its sick leave agreement with eastern railroad CSX (NASDAQ: CSX).

The ratification affects about 2,400 conductors and trainmen working on CSX’s northern lines. The agreement also adopts the current attendance policy put into place by CSX into the collective bargaining agreement, according to a Friday news release from SMART Transportation Division GO-049 (General Committee of Adjustment), which is based in Jacksonville, Florida, and negotiates with the freight railroads on agreements. 

The group said the inclusion of the attendance policy is significant because attendance policy isn’t something that has been negotiated historically. In return for agreeing to negotiate attendance policy, “the carrier gained flexibility and cost savings through provisions that allow conductors and trainmen to drive company-provided vehicles under certain conditions and also settled a long-term dispute between the SMART-TD and CSX regarding assignment placement,” according to the release. 

CSX and SMART-TD GO-049 had reached a sick leave deal in early April, but the agreement still needed to be ratified by members. 

“It’s refreshing and impressive to see the overwhelming support of the membership on this tentative agreement. It is also encouraging that SMART-TD and CSX leadership were able to sit down at the table and reach a consensus on items as important as these,” SMART-TD Chairperson Richard Lee said in the release. “I am hopeful this momentum will carry forward in future negotiations and help us collectively improve the working conditions and overall morale at CSX.”

“We thank CSX CEO Joseph Hinrichs and Executive Vice President Jamie Boychuk for exhibiting flexibility and working with our union in a collaborative manner in reaching this tentative agreement,” SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson said. “This serves as a vital first step to giving [train and engine] personnel the paid sick time they deserve, and I am hopeful this accommodation will soon be extended to the employees working under the jurisdiction of the other General Committees at CSX as well.”

Unifor members ratify labor agreement with CN

On Monday, CN (NYSE: CNI) announced that union members with Unifor have ratified the collective agreement with the Canadian railway. The agreement affects approximately 3,000 CN employees working in various departments in Canada, including mechanical, intermodal and facility management.

“We are pleased that Unifor members have ratified these agreements,” CN President and CEO Tracy Robinson said in a news release. “Despite the diverse crafts represented by this union, we have been successful in improving alignment on our path forward to deliver better and safer service.”

Unifor said in a Friday news release that the agreement is actually four ratified collective agreements covering Unifor Local 100, which represents skilled trades in the mechanical shops, and Council 4000 members, which represents intermodal, clerical, mechanics and excavator operators. The agreement is good for two years and will expire on Dec. 31, 2024.

“This was an extremely challenging and complex round of bargaining,” Unifor Council 4000 President Dave Kissack said in the release. “With concessions on the table, we needed the support of our membership. I would like to thank them because it was only with membership support for the bargaining team that we were able to force the company to remove concessions.”

Unifor Local 100 President Cory Will said the agreement was a product of nearly two full months of negotiations. 

“Coming out of a pandemic and with global economic uncertainty, the bargaining committee knew it had its work cut out for them but with the support of members from across the country, we stood firm and were able to negotiate a fair contract,” Will said. 

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Related links:

Hiring initiatives pay off for CSX

CSX reaches sick leave agreement with SMART-TD B&O

CN reaches labor agreement with Unifor

CN vies for transcontinental business with intermodal service with UP, Ferromex

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