Union railroad workers reject contract offer

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Union railroad workers in the northern part of the state have turned down a tentative labor contract.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen rejected an offer from the Canadian National/Wisconsin Central railroad. The newspaper said that about 150 of the 400 railroad's union members work in the Northland.

Union chairman John Reynolds said that the offer was rejected by a 179-124 vote with 72 percent of the ballots returned.

No strike or work slowdown will result from the rejected contract, Reynolds said. The two sides will return to mediation but it's not clear when talks will resume. A federal mediator was assigned to the negotiations last year. The union has been working under the provisions of their old contract since their agreement expired in April of 2011.

“We hope things will progress for the best, but, we must tell you, it is only prudent to prepare for the worst,” Reynolds said.

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