SMART Transportation Division-represented train and engine workers employed by Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad Company have ratified a new five-year agreement by an overwhelming 89 percent majority.

The agreement provides for substantial wage increases equal to the 2011 national UTU agreement, including percentage increases to crew consist payments, full back-pay and increases in training pay.

The agreement also provides improved bereavement leave, establishes a Rule-G bypass agreement and establishes a health and welfare benefit package that replicates the National Health and Welfare package, including the Early Retirement Major Medical Benefit Plan.

SMART TD International Vice President Dave Wier, who assisted with the negotiations, congratulates International Organizer W.W. Lain, General Chairperson Dan Beckman and committee members John Hytinen, Tim Thomas and Jake Sinclair for “the effort put forth in bringing the members concerns’ to the bargaining table and negotiating an agreement with substantial improvements in wages and working conditions.”

Lake Superior & Ishpeming’s primary business is the transportation of iron ore over a 16-mile short line from the Empire-Tilden Mine, operated by Cliffs Natural Resources, south of Ishpeming, to Lake Superior for transport.

The Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railway was organized in 1893 as a subsidiary of Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company (now Cliffs Natural Resources), the iron ore mining company. From its beginning, the railroad’s primary business was the transport of iron ore from the Marquette Iron Range, west of Marquette, to docks on Lake Superior, from which the ore could be shipped to steel mills on the lower Great Lakes.