Rail union BMWED members reject contract deal with U.S. railroads

A union representing employees who build and maintain tracks said on Monday its members rejected the tentative contract deal with a committee representing major U.S. freight railroads.

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWED), which represents more 11,000 workers, said the rejection results in a “status quo” period where the union will reengage bargaining with the Class I freight carriers.

The union said the vote “indicates that there is a lot of work to do to establish goodwill and improve the morale that has been broken by the railroads’ executives and Wall Street hedge fund managers”.

Last month, President Joe Biden announced that other unions, including those representing thousands of workers, and the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) had reached a tentative deal, staving off a costly strike that could have crippled U.S. supply chains.

So far, only four of the 12 unions have ratified the agreement.

Rail parties had agreed to a cooling-off period, a standard part of ratification process in case vote fails in order to avert any shutdown.

In September, a division of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers reached an improved tentative contract deal with the NCCC after its members rejected it earlier.