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New Five-Year Amtrak Contract Proposed

May 11, 2010


IBEW members employed by Amtrak are considering a five-year contract package that includes annual raises and controlled, capped increases for health insurance contributions.

“This is a very good contract, especially considering that Amtrak is a federally-funded corporation,” said IBEW Railroad Department Director Bill Bohne.. “And it’s timely: it took us eight years to get the last contract, only four months for this one.”

The last pact – a 10-year term – based on the recommendations of a Presidential Emergency Board in 2008, was retroactive to the close of the previous collective bargaining agreement in 2000. It expired last December.

Mail-in voting for the 1,200 IBEW members at Amtrak will be occurring through the month and ballots will be counted May 26. A message from President Hill announcing the tentative agreement, the draft contract itself and an explanations by System Council 7 General Chairman Mike Giansante N.Y. Local 1573 General Chairman John MacDonald are available for members’ review on the IBEW Web site.

Wage increases over the life of the proposed contract compound to 14.9 percent. On health benefits, the agreement calls for limiting employee cost-sharing increases by continuing with the 15 percent of premium formula while implementing annual dollar caps, with the employee contributing the lesser amount of the two. Amtrak sought no major changes in work rules. The tentative agreement covers the period of January 1, 2010, through January 1, 2015.

Bohne′ said Amtrak hopes to expand its responsibilities into the burgeoning high-speed rail industry and continue to court commuter train contracts nationwide. “By stabilizing labor costs, Amtrak will be more suited to bid on projects,” Bohne′ said.

IBEW’s Amtrak employees work throughout the country in locations such as New York, Wilmington, Del., Chicago, Indiana, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Boston and Florida.

The IBEW bargained with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the Transportation Workers Union and Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, a division of the Transportation Communications Union -- IAM.