October 22, 2014

Members ratify five-year Amtrak agreement

Amtrak LogoAmtrak employees represented by the SMART Transportation Division (UTU) have ratified a five-year agreement with management of the National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak).

The new pact covers approximately 2,300 members employed as conductors, assistant conductors, yardmasters and dining car stewards. 

The agreement is retroactive to 2010 and the new rates of pay should become effective within 30 to 45 days. Payment of retroactive wages will be made approximately 60 days after the wage rates take effect. 

“The membership recognized the value of the proposed contract and in ratifying the agreement have secured the wages and benefits that were hard-fought and hard-won by the negotiating team,” said SMART Transportation Division Assistant President John Previsich.

With the assistance of Previsich, the contract negotiations were conducted by Amtrak General Chairpersons Dirk Sampson (GO 769), Bill Beebe (GO 663) and Robert J. Keeley (GO 342).

“I must thank President Mike Futhey and Assistant President John Previsich, whose efforts made this agreement possible,” Sampson said. “Despite moments of uncertainty that existed, their leadership, patience and confident demeanor kept this very long and difficult round of negotiations moving forward. I would also like to recognize the efforts of General Chairperson Bill Beebe, Vice General Chairperson Charlie Yura and Local 1361 Chairperson Gary J. Hopson for their assistance in bringing these negotiations to a conclusion.”

Chairperson Robert Keeley added, “I would also like to thank the aforementioned, along with General Committee Secretary Charles Fowler, Vice General Chairperson Salvador Ruiz, Local Chairpersons Keenan Lett and James Madden, and Brother Cleophas Brickhouse,” Keeley said. “Solidarity has always been a fragile thing, fraught with complex and difficult commitments. Real solidarity is an easier statement to make than it is to keep and put into practice. We walked into negotiations together, and we found success together. I want to be sure to thank all involved for demonstrating union solidarity at its very best.”

The agreement was passed by nearly 60 percent of eligible train-service members that voted and by 86 percent of eligible yardmasters that voted.