Belt_Railway_Chicago_LogoSMART Transportation Division members of General Committee of Adjustment GO 065 employed by Belt Railway of Chicago recently ratified a new agreement governing their rates of pay and working conditions, according to SMART Vice President John E. Lesniewski.

The agreement mirrors that of the Sept. 16, 2011, UTU National Agreement, Lesniewski said.

While GO 065 members had already been governed by the health and welfare provisions of the 2011 National Agreement by virtue of the carrier’s participation in national handling for health and welfare only, the remainder of the agreement had been stalled in mediation over disputes involving crew consist and other local issues. 

“With those issues having been successfully set aside in favor of future voluntary and non-binding discussions, the agreement was ratified by an overwhelming majority of nearly 97 percent of voting members,” Lesniewski said.

Lesniewski, who assisted with the negotiations, lauded the efforts of General Chairperson Stelios Paras and Vice General Chairperson Graeme McClure for “staying the course, ultimately securing the same favorable agreement our Class I members enjoy nationally, without any additional strings attached.”

BRC, headquartered in Chicago, is the largest switching terminal railroad in the United States. It is co-owned by six Class I railroads, including BNSF Railway, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad, each of which uses the switching and interchange facilities. The BRC also provides rail terminal services to approximately 100 local manufacturing industries.