The negotiating team representing SMART Transportation Division members on the Kyle Railroad has reached agreement with the carrier on a proposed contract for all crafts under its jurisdiction. The Transportation Division represents engineers, conductors, brakemen, maintenance of way employees, signal employees, mechanics, helpers and apprentices, carmen and welders.

General Chairperson Brent Leonard, who was assisted by Local 44 President and Chairperson William Strickland, Local Secretary & Treasurer Dustin Meiller and Vice Local Chairperson Jacob Dougherty, led the negotiating team.

Assistant President John Previsich, who participated in the negotiations, praised the team for its efforts. “This round of negotiations was made more difficult by the sale of RailAmerica to Genesee and Wyoming partway through the process. The sale introduced a number of new concerns regarding preservation of benefits and pay that weren’t present at the start of the negotiations.

“The team did an excellent job of securing the current benefit levels while obtaining new provisions that guarantee pay and time off, along with excellent improvements to wages and working conditions.”

“The proposed agreement contains new working conditions that provide for a quality of life unseen on Class I railroads,” said Leonard. “For the first time on the Kyle Railroad, our members can secure a guaranteed level of benefit and a cost-sharing cap on their health insurance plan.”

The tentative agreement and ballots have been mailed to affected members and ballots must be returned no later than April 22, 2013.

The Kyle Railroad is a short line railroad operating from north central Kansas into eastern Colorado, with 625 miles of track. It interchanges with BNSF Railway, Nebraska, Kansas & Colorado Railway and Union Pacific. 

Commodities moved on Kyle include wheat, soybeans, milo maize, alcohols, siding asphalt and roofing granules.