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Railroads, Union Agree; Possible Strike Averted

2/3/2012 9:00:00 AM
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Tom Biery/Trans Pixs

The largest U.S. freight railroads reached a tentative agreement last week with a union representing track and bridge maintenance workers, eliminating the possibility of a nationwide work stoppage.

Working against a Feb. 8 deadline, the National Carriers Conference Committee, representing Union Pacific and other railroads, announced the agreement with Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees on Thursday.

That union was the only labor group that had not reached a contract agreement in the current round of bargaining. A total of 12 other agreements have been ratified.

A key issue was reimbursement to union members for travel to job sites that may be hundreds of miles away to work in track gangs, the union said in a statement posted on its website. The last adjustment of that compensation was made in 2005.

The U.S.-based carriers and the union agreed early in December to 60 additional days of talks, heading off a walkout at that time.

During the same week, unions that represent locomotive engineers and train dispatchers reached last-minute agreements.

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