September 18, 2014

Texas shortline pact out for ratification vote

Train, engine and mechanical forces represented by the UTU on shortline Western Rail Road in Texas are voting on a tentative new agreement reached with mediation assistance from the National Mediation Board.

An October tentative agreement was rejected by affected members, leading to participation of the NMB in this renewed round of negotiations. Affected members will be voting through Aug. 3.

Negotiations were led by UTU Vice President Paul Tibbit and UTU General Chairperson Doyle Turner (GO 347), who heads the UTU’s shortline outreach program.

“This tentative agreement, as with others negotiated with shortlines, is intended to bring parity in wages, benefits and work rules to the thousands of employees in the short line railroad industry, along with the many other protections offered by union membership,” Turner said. “The seniority, scope and discipline rules these members now enjoy are what makes union membership valuable.”

Western Rail Road, owned by Cemex, connects a quarry and cement plant at Dittlinger with Union Pacific’s Austin, Texas, subdivision. Dittlinger is four miles south of New Braunfels and about 50 miles south of Austin.