PHL and BLET sign new agreement

Pacific Harbor Line, Inc. (PHL) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) have signed a new five-year labor agreement. The contract, effective September 20, governs rates of pay, benefits and work rules for 150 of PHL’s 189 employees.

In a joint announcement, PHL-BLET said, “The new agreement includes wage increases, a matching 401(k) savings plan, a signing bonus, and no increases in employee health and welfare contributions for the life of the contract.”

The contract was ratified on September 4 by a majority of the BLET’s PHL members, and signed September 15 at PHL’s offices in Wilmington, Calif.

BLET’s Division 214 in Long Beach, Calif., has represented PHL’s employees since the railroad was formed in 1998. Subsequently, union employment has grown from 27 employees to more than 150 today. For contract negotiations, Division 214 is represented by the BLET’s Union Pacific-Western Lines General Committee of Adjustment (UP-WL GCA).

PHL President Otis Cliatt II said, “The year 2020 will be remembered for the vast array of negatively impactful events that weigh heavily on the minds of employees, staff, customers and myself. Yet, it’s exciting to share this positive announcement during otherwise troubled times.”

The BLET negotiating team was led by Union Pacific-Western Lines/PHL General Chairman Brian P. Carr and Division 214 Local Chairman Jose L. Covarrubias, with assistance from National Vice President Mark Wallace.

“Although it took more than one attempt, the BLET negotiating team was able to reach an agreement that was ratified by the membership,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “I thank the membership for their solidarity and perseverance throughout the negotiating process. I also thank General Chairman Carr for bringing these negotiations to a successful conclusion.”

The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles welcomed the new contract, which will enhance the railroad network and ensure the fluid movement of cargo in the harbor.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen represents nearly 58,000 professional locomotive engineers and trainmen throughout the United States. The BLET is the founding member of the Rail Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Pacific Harbor Line, Inc. provides railroad switching services to customers in the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which together form the largest container port in the United States. PHL dispatches all BNSF Railway and Union Pacific trains within the ports. PHL is a subsidiary of Anacostia Rail Holdings, which operates six local and regional freight railroads in seven states.

Pictured: PHL President, Otis Cliatt, on the left and BLET General Chairman, Brian Carr, on the right.
PHL President, Otis Cliatt, on the left and BLET General Chairman, Brian Carr, on the right.