Sixty-one percent of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS)'s members has voted against the ratification of a five-year tentative agreement reached on Sept. 15 that contains 24% wage increases and $5,000 bonuses, following a similar action taken by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (BMWE).

There are 12 US railroad unions representing railway workers, six of which have ratified the deal. However, two of the remaining six - the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART)'s Transport Division (SMART-TD) - are both scheduled to have their respective members cast their votes on Nov. 17. Having huge memberships, the hardliners are both drawing attention in respect to what to do with the agreement. Even if they both voted against it, it does not mean that strikes will be staged soon. If some of the non-ratifiers continue to reject it, however, there is concern that major strikes would be unavoidable after the midterm elections.




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