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New Jersey Transit's recently approved contract with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) provides compounded wage increases of 23.3 percent over the life of the agreement, the union announced yesterday.The agreement covers full retroactive pay from July 2011 and runs through the end of 2019. The contract covers a total of eight and one-half years. The retroactive pay will be given in two installments: one this year and one in 2017.In addition, out-of-pocket costs for health insurance will increase, BLET officials said.The agreement governs rates of pay, work rules and health and welfare benefits for more than 400 locomotive engineers, assistant locomotive engineers and locomotive engineer trainees.The BLET was one of 11 unions negotiating as part of the New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition. Nine of the 11 unions ratified an initial agreement earlier in 2016, but the BLET and SMART Transportation Division rejected it. After returning to the bargaining table, the final unions last month ratified the agreement.
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