This week in Philadelphia the American Arbitration Association counted and certified the votes cast for the new Amtrak contract for members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED). The contract was ratified by a large majority of the voters. Amtrak is the largest public rail transportation system in the country.
At Washington, D.C.’s Union Station, many of the members of the B&B crew echoed the positive outcome of the contract. “I think we got a pretty good contract,” said Bill Zeller, a 10-year member. Zeller added that avoiding having to go with a Presidential Emergency Board decision was the right thing to do.
Given the age of the facility, which originally opened in 1907, the B&B crew has a lot on their hands fixing damage on the sprawling platforms that have been added on to multiple times over the years. Part of the crew is Rick Baker, who specializes in carpentry. “Considering the economy, I am also think we got a good contract,” Baker said.
The new agreement resolves the wage, benefits and work rules dispute that began on January 2, 2015. The contract also insures that members will see wage increases and that their health care is protected. In addition to the wage gains and health care security, there is an improvement to the military training rule: increasing the number of weeks to three, from two, in pay for training time.