CSX Transportation Inc. and the United Transportation Union have a tentative accord to reduce train-crew sizes on many of the railroad's runs.
The agreement, however, is subject to ratification by the UTU membership on the line.The railroad said the agreement would reduce crew sizes to three members on the Louisville & Nashville, Clinchfield, and Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis branches of CSX.
While CSX refused to provide many details of the proposed settlement, the railroad did predict that the agreement would cut crews on 30 percent of its runs down to an engineer, a conductor and a brakeman.
The tentative accord is similar to crew-consist agreements that were approved recently between the UTU and several divisions of the Southern Pacific Transportation Co.
UTU members on the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Co. and the Texas & New Orleans Railroad, both now branches of the SP, recently ratified the accord.
CSX Tuesday said its proposed settlement provides for UTU members affected by the changes to receive either a $50,000 separation allowance or a transfer to another CSX terminal.
Those provisions are similar to the terms of the SP settlements.
The agreement comes in the wake of the failure of a major CSX initiative, which it called gain-sharing. It would have offered all CSX unions a cash split of profits raised by gains in worker productivity.
The UTU's general chairmen on the railroad refused to go along with the plan, because, they said, many of the gains provided by their members would be paid to employees who belong to other unions.
The trend toward smaller crews has had its primary impact on UTU members. In past years, train crews generally consisted of five workers. Today, through freight trains often have only a two-man crew.
The SP divisions were the last major railroad segments without a crew- consist accord. The drive for smaller crews has been going on for 28 years.
CSX reported that it had already set aside the money necessary to fund the buy-outs during a special charge it took against earnings during the second quarter of 1988.
Attempts to reach UTU officials to discuss the details of the proposal were unsuccessful Tuesday.
A CSX spokeswoman said, We're not talking about any of the details.