Brakemen, conductors and engineers on Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railway (CSS), all represented by the UTU, have ratified a new five-year agreement by a four-to-one margin.

The contract, retroactive to Jan. 1, provides for hourly wage increases, a cap on health care contributions, productivity allowances and wage parity for those hired prior to Dec. 15, 2010.

The UTU retains the right, throughout the life of the agreement, to negotiate profit sharing in lieu of general wage increases.

UTU International Vice President John Babler, who assisted in negotiations, praised the skills of General Chairperson Anthony Wojasinski (GO CSS), Local 1526 Chairpersons Brian Krueger and Frank Fraser, and Local 1526 President John Higginbotham.

CSS, an Anacostia & Pacific short line, serves industries in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana.