The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the American Train Dispatchers Association reached tentative agreements with the National Carriers Conference Committee on December 1, 2011, to settle their national contracts.
On the same date, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes agreed with the carriers to extend the cooling off period from December 6, 2011 to February 8, 2012, to allow further discussion of the union’s request to increase reimbursements for away-from-home expenses.
With these developments, there is now no possibility of a strike on December 6.
The BLE and ATDA signings bring the number of tentative agreements reached implementing the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board 243 to eleven, including TCU Carmen and Clerks. All are now pending ratification by the unions’ respective memberships.
The BLE and ATDA tentative agreements contain identical terms on compensation and health insurance plan design to those reached in the tentative agreements with TCU and every other signing union.
On November 30, several bills were introduced in Congress to impose the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board on any union that did not have a tentative agreement by December 6.
In the wake of the news of the ATDA and BLE signings and the BMWE extension, it is unclear whether Congress will proceed with those bills at this time. However, Congressional leaders made it crystal clear that they will take whatever action is necessary to prevent a national rail strike.