Signalmen employed by the Canadian Pacific - SOO Line Railroad Company (CP/SOO Line) have ratified a new six-year contract. The new Agreement settles all issues arising from the Railway Labor Act (RLA), Section VI Notice dated January 26, 2015, that was served on the CP/SOO Line by the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS). The Agreement was signed on May 31, 2018, in Minneapolis, Minnesota with an effective date of July 1, 2018.
The Agreement provided for six general wage increases. The first general wage increase was 2% retroactive to January 1, 2016. The second general wage increase was 2% and retroactive to August 1, 2017. The third general wage increase is 2% and becomes effective August 1 2018. The forth general wage increase is 2% and becomes effective August 1, 2019. The fifth general wage increase is 2% and becomes effective August 1, 2020. While the sixth general wage increase is 2% and becomes effective August 1, 2021. The agreement also calls for possible additional general wage increases of up to 1% for the years 2020 and 2021. The additional increases are only triggered based on the Company’s year-over-year Revenue Ton Mileage (RTM) metric performance.
In order to resolve local work rule issues, the CP/SOO Line agreed to amend several BRS Agreement Rules. Among those changes were:
An amendment was made to Agreement Rule #21 to address signal maintainer subject to call issues.
Agreement Rule #24 (B) was amended to increase the meal allowance and adjust it up or down annually, based on the same percentage change of the previous year’s CPI-U adjustment.
Agreement Rule #31 was amended to allow all claims and grievances to be presented electronically by or on behalf of the employee involved.
Agreement Rule #32 was adjusted to provide a faster claim process for discipline claims.
Finally, Agreement Rule #37 was amended that in the event an employee is called outside of his regular assigned hours, such employee may be provided a Company vehicle or, if a vehicle is not made available, the employee shall be paid actual mileage (to a maximum of 50 miles each way) at 65% of the IRS annual mileage rate per mile from his residence to his headquarter point and back.
The BRS members on the CP/SOO Line were among the only employees working for a Class I Railroad that were not a party to National Contract Negotiations between the National Carrier’s Conference Committee (NCCC) and the BRS. However, the CP/SOO Line Railroad did elect to stand-by for The Railroad Employees National Health and Welfare Plan. Subsequently, all The Railroad Employees National Health and Welfare Plan changes that were hammered out between the NCCC and the BRS were adopted by the parties to this agreement.
BRS Midwest Vice President J. L. (Joe) Mattingly and BRS CP/SOO Line General Committee Chairman Keith Huebner negotiated the final terms of the new contract. Brother Huebner also serves as Local Chairman for BRS Local Lodge No. 226. Following the Agreement’s ratification, BRS Vice President Mattingly stated: “This was a long and protracted negotiated agreement to say the least. As both the political and economic landscape change, so did the Carrier’s position. The fact that the Railroad choose to stand-by for National Health & Welfare benefits only complicated the process. It was a hard fought battle until a couple of those factors stabilized.”
The terms of the Agreement run to January 1, 2022. However, either party may serve a new contract notice after September 1, 2021.