(The following is a letter from General Chairman Jerry LaPrath to all members of the BNSF/MRL General Committee of Adjustment dated October 27, 2017.)
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the BLET/MRL General Committee of Adjustment:
We recently attended a meeting at the BLET National Division in Cleveland for discussion and questions on the BLET current tentative agreement that’s going to go out for a ratification vote soon to our GCA members. We’ve had ample opportunity to review the proposal now and wanted to share our thoughts on some of the more salient items that we feel make it worthy of a yes vote.
No work rules will be modified or changed. The Carriers were asking for some expansive work rule changes that could have had a very adverse effect on our wages and on our lifestyles. This tentative agreement, if ratified, doesn’t allow that to happen.
BLET and SMART TD voting on same contract. This is a historic event. No more “race to the bottom” concerns.
Real Wage Increases. A compounded value of 13.14% over the life of this contract.
Our Health Plan monthly premium contribution is frozen at the current level. Also no Cadillac Tax threshold issues and very minimal increases in copays over the life of the contract.
The officers of this GCA have seen firsthand what can happen when an unfriendly Congress combined with a PEB can do to our pay and benefits. It’s not been pretty. We’ve been dealt a losing hand on many occasions when others with dissimilar interests and no formal knowledge of our occupations are granted authority to make choices regarding our contracts. With the current anti-labor majorities in Washington now, it would be a poor choice to put the fate of our futures in such incapable hands.
In closing, giving all things due consideration, the tentative agreement should be given a yes vote and be ratified.
Sunday, November 12, 2017