SMART Transportation Division-represented members who work on the Louisiana and North West (LNW) Railroad recently ratified a new contract to run through 2023.
The agreement allows for a 3% raise, effective June 2019; a 3% raise in June 2020; and a 3% raise in June 2021. These will be followed by raises of 2.5% in June 2022 and 2.5% in June 2023.
Employees covered by the agreement also receive a $300 ratification bonus and back pay to be paid by the end of December.
The contract protects the status of certain employees, establishes Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a paid holiday starting next year and awards an additional week of vacation to employees who have served the carrier more than 20 years.
TD Vice President Chadrick Adams assisted General Chairperson Jess Kilgore of Local 781 (Shreveport, La.) in negotiating the successful agreement for GCA-LNW.
“This was a challenging process for our union,” Adams said. “But in the end we were able to get a contract that our members found to be to their satisfaction.”
A prior agreement failed in the ratification process earlier this year.
LNW, based in Homer, La., operates 62.6 miles from McNeil, Ark., to Gibsland, La., and is owned by Patriot Rail Corp.

Patriot Rail and Ports, an operator of short lines in the United States, was acquired by First State Investments, an Australia-based firm that has invested in infrastructure in Australia, Europe, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Railway Age reported Aug. 27.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Patriot Rail and Ports operates a portfolio of 12 short-line freight railroads with more than 585 track miles across 14 states in the U.S. Patriot owns a number of properties represented by SMART Transportation Division.
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Train and engine, mechanical and maintenance of way employees on Columbia & Cowlitz Railway in Washington state – all represented by the UTU — have ratified their first agreement since voting “UTU yes” in October 2011. They are members of UTU Local 1348.

Negotiations were led by UTU International Vice President Paul Tibbit and UTU Assistant President Arty Martin.

Tibbit praised the efforts of members Sean Kibbee and Eddie Steed, “who worked with the membership every step of the process and fully explained the tentative agreement. They presented their case very well and in a professional manner and we achieved nearly everything we sought,” Tibbit said.

Columbia & Cowlitz Railway is part of the Patriot Rail group and operates in southwest Washington state.

Rail and bus workers continue to call out to the United Transportation Union for representation in these troubling times.

The UTU’s ability to negotiate industry-leading contracts, process grievances and achieve workplace safety improvements are most often cited as the reason.

Over the past few weeks, the UTU was successful in three additional organizing drives, bringing to 27 the number of new properties added to the UTU family within the past 44 months.

Workers at Columbia & Cowlitz Railway (which includes Patriot Woods Railroad) in Longview, Wash.; Intermodal Services of America of Lorain, Ohio; and First Transit of Farmington, N.M., are now represented by the UTU.

Transportation and mechanical employees at shortline Columbia & Cowlitz Railway (which includes Patriot Woods Railroad for representation purposes) — both part of the Patriot Rail group and operating in southwest Washington state — voted unanimously for UTU representation, rejecting another labor organization. UTU Director of Organizing Rich Ross and Assistant President Arty Martin made presentations to the workers, leading to a unanimous show of support in the representation election.

Intermodal Services of America (ISA), which provides intra-plant switching for manufacturing and processing plants at numerous locations in the Midwest and Southwest, voluntarily recognized the UTU as its transportation employees’ bargaining representative. Ross, UTU Assistant General Counsel Erika Diehl, Illinois State Legislative Director Bob Guy and Local 1895 (Chicago) Local Chairperson and Regional Organizer Larry Grutzius were instrumental in the organizing drive.
At First Transit, a public transit operator and part of First Group America, former UTU member Steve Moots, now employed there, provided a testimonial on UTU representation abilities to his fellow then-unorganized workers. Bonnie Morr, alternate Bus Department vice president, was assisted in the organizing drive by Alternate Vice President John England, Columbia & Cowlitz Railway General Chairperson Sean Kibbee, New Mexico State Legislative Director Dennis Baca and Assistant President Arty Martin.