Train and engineer workers employed by Mississippi Export Railroad have ratified a new eight-year agreement by a unanimous vote.

SMART Transportation Division Vice President David Wier said the agreement provides for cumulative wage increases of 22 percent over the life of the agreement, with lump sum payments ranging from $2,000 for employees with less than two years of service to $13,000 for employees with four or more years of service. It also includes increases in reimbursements for safety equipment, supplies and auto mileage.

The agreement preserves the crew-consist agreement and the Railroad National Health and Welfare package, including the early retirement major-medical benefit plan, with an employee-contribution cap of $150 per month.

Wier, who assisted with the negotiations, congratulated GO 433 General Chairperson Richard “Red” Dare, Vice General Chairperson Butch St. John, General Committee Secretary Jerry Russum and Local 1344 Chairperson Matt McLeod for “their exceptional effort during the long and difficult negotiations and for bringing the members’ concerns to the bargaining table and negotiating an agreement with substantial improvements in wages and working conditions.

Headquartered in Moss Point, Miss., Mississippi Export Railroad is a 42-mile short line railroad operating in Mississippi from Evanston to Pascagoula. It is the north-south corridor connecting Canadian National Railroad and the east-west line of CSX Transportation. It also connects to Norfolk Southern in Mobile, Ala., and Hattiesburg, Miss., and Kansas City Southern in Jackson, Miss., through haulage agreements.

The railroad owns and operates a railcar/locomotive repair and maintenance facility. It also has abundant track space for railcar storage of all types and several team tracks available for commodity transfers.