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Boilermakers’ union becomes third to reject tentative contract deal

By Bill Stephens | November 14, 2022

Cooling off period runs into early December

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Logo of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers

Logo of International Brotherhood of BoilermakersARLINGTON, Va. — The boilermakers’ union that represents 300 railroad workers has rejected their tentative agreement with the U.S. Class I systems, becoming the third labor organization to give a new contract a thumbs down.

The union announced today that its members rejected the contract that had been based on the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board convened this summer after railroads and the unions failed to reach a contract deal.

The two sides now will enter a cooling-off period that will run through at least Dec. 9.

“We are disappointed that the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB), which represents approximately 300 rail employees out of the more than 100,000 involved in this bargaining round, has failed to ratify its recent tentative agreement with the nation’s freight railroads,” the National Carriers Conference Committee, the negotiating arm of the Class I systems, said in a statement. “This result will delay the benefits of the tentative agreement for IBB-represented employees, including an immediate 14.1% wage increase and substantial retroactive and lump sum payouts.

The Kansas City, Kan.,-based International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers said it expects “continue negotiating further toward a satisfactory contract in the future with the NCCC.”

The IBB joins the unions representing maintenance of way employees and signalmen in rejecting their tentative agreements with the railroads. Seven unions have ratified their contracts.

But the two largest unions — the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the SMART-TD that represents conductors — won’t announce their ballot results until Nov. 21. Industry observers believe BLET and SMART-TD are likely to vote down their agreements, setting up the prospect of the first nationwide railroad strike since one that led to a brief lockout in 1992.

7 thoughts on “Boilermakers’ union becomes third to reject tentative contract deal

  1. Why is there even anyone left being represented by this union on the RR’s? What function do these 300 employees do that couldn’t be preformed by members of another similar union?

    1. Boiler makers preform heavy metal repairs Gerald, frame repairs, pilot / plow repairs etc.
      There is a fine line between boiler makers and iron workers in todays world but this is obviously the remains of long ago.

  2. The 300 IBB members probably want whatever better deal the other bigger unions who have already rejected (or will soon be rejecting) the proposed contract will eventually receive. Doesn’t seem like they have much to loose with some upside potential.

    1. I guess the long term risk is driving Class I’s to outsource all their heavy repairs to 3rd party/outside non union shops.

  3. I hope the train men will reject the contract . They are close to getting what they all want, a guaranteed day of each week and at their home terminal.

  4. This union’s name, shows its history. When I saw, “Boilermakers”, I was thinking of a steam engine’s boiler and overhauling it. Thank you Jim Salisbury for informing me. On the other hand, its 300 hundred members nationwide speaks more about its history.

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