SMART Transportation Division-represented trainmen and engineers employed by Delray Connecting Railroad have ratified a new five-year agreement by a unanimous vote, according to Vice President David Wier.

The agreement provides for annual wage increases, retroactive to April 1, 2013, with a back-pay lump sum; establishes $5 certification pay for conductors and remote-control operators; improves step-rate provisions with an 80 percent entry rate and 5 percent increases for each qualification of conductor, RCO and engineer, allowing new employees to reach a 95-percent rate within the first year of employment; provides an established rest day for extra board employees; increases carrier-matching contributions to 401(k) accounts to $1,500; provides for carryover of sick days; limits employee health and welfare contributions to 12 percent of plan costs and freezes co-pays and deductibles for the life of the contract; improves working conditions and preserves guaranteed extra boards.

Wier, who assisted with the negotiations, congratulates DCRR Acting General Chairperson Ralph “Bud” Bigelow (Local 1438) and negotiating committee member Rick Garcia for the exceptional effort put forth in bringing the members concerns to the bargaining table and negotiating an agreement with significant improvements in wages and working conditions.