Trainmen and engineers represented by the SMART Transportation Division and employed by Chicago Rail Link have ratified a new six-year agreement, with 95 percent of the affected employees voting in favor of the deal.

The agreement provides for annual wage increases with full back-pay, retoractive to Oct. 1, 2010; limits employee health and welfare contributions rates; freezes co-pays and deductibles for the life of the contract; improves working conditions; provides bereavement leave, pay for training, rule classes and boot allowances; establishes single-day vacations and preserves guaranteed extra boards.

Transportation Division Vice President Dave Wier, who assisted with the negotiations that were concluded in mediation, congratulated GO-CRL General Chairperson Bob Campbell, Vice Chairperson Chris O’Connell and Secretary Rod Truszowski for “the exceptional effort put forth over the past three and one-half years in presenting the members concerns at the bargaining table and negotiating an agreement with improvements in wages, working conditions and the health and welfare package. The wage increases provide the membership with outstanding daily rates of pay, with daily straight time increases of $28.24 over the life of the contract.”

Chicago Rail Link provides switching and terminal services over 72 miles of trackage in Chicago and customized intermediate switching services through the Chicago Terminal complex. In addition to serving the Port of Chicago, it is the contract-switching operator for CSXI at the Bedford Park Intermodal Facility and also provides storage to railcar owners such as Chicago Freight Car and Helm. It is owned by OmniTRAX, Inc.