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CSX reaches 'landmark' agreement with unions at Huntington

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CSX has reached what it calls a "landmark" labor agreement with the four unions at its Huntington repair shops. The company is guaranteeing workers four years of employment, and workers may perform all assigned work regardless of craft.

The agreement covers about 215 people who work at the shops, and it covers a variety of work, including locomotive rebuilds.

The contract was signed Oct. 23. The unions signing the agreement are the Transportation Communications Union's Carmen Division, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.

"This is an innovative contract by CSX and its union-represented employees at the Huntington facility," Ken Mason, CSX vice president-labor relations, said in a news release. "This is a true win-win agreement that provides the right incentives for improved worker flexibility and the ability to drive significant improvements in quality, production and efficiency."

Jeff Doerr, president and directing general chairman of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 19, also praised the agreement.

"This historic agreement proves that by working efficiently, railroad unions can compete with outside contractors even at higher rates of pay with superior benefits," Doerr said in the news release.

Covered employees will received a $500 signing bonus, a $1 hourly efficiency differential, and guaranteed employment for the duration of the four-year agreement. Also, the current ratio of members of each union currently working at the Huntington Locomotive Shop will be preserved, Mason said.

CSX spokesman Gary Sease said, "The benefit of it was that it kept work in house that would have been outsourced without the agreement."