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3/3/2004



Rail News: Railroading People

UTU suspends International President Boyd in the wake of federal racketeering charges, pegs Thompson to assume Boyd's duties


Facing federal racketeering charges, Byron Boyd Jr. has been removed from his international presidential perch at the United Transportation Union. The union's international executive board recently found Boyd guilty of violating the union's constitution and suspended him from office, without pay, for the rest of his four-year term, which expires in July 2007. Assistant UTU President Paul Thompson will assume Boyd's duties.

Board members determined Boyd violated the constitution by hiring and directing UTU officer Ralph Dennis, who pled guilty in federal court to charges of racketeering, fraud, bribery and embezzlement, and awaits sentencing. The board ruled that Boyd's suspension would be revoked and he would be reinstated with all lost wages if he is found not guilty of federal criminal charges or the charges are dismissed. His trial is scheduled to begin March 22.

"It is with heavy heart that I assume the duties of president," Thompson said in a prepared statement. "Byron Boyd's vision at the negotiating table gained for our members unprecedented job security and an improved standard of living. At this difficult moment in our history, be assured I will dedicate all my energies to maintain this union as one of the strongest."

The board also found UTU General Secretary and Treasurer Dan Johnson not guilty of violating the constitution.

In September, the U.S. Attorney's office indicted Boyd, former UTU International President Charles Little, and current and former union officers Dennis and John Rookard on charges of racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and commercial bribery. The government alleges that during a seven-year period beginning in 1995, the four union officials conspired to violate federal mail fraud and wire fraud statutes, and commercial state bribery statutes by using their positions of authority to solicit and collect cash payments and other objects of value from attorneys doing business with the union.

Little, who served as international president between 1995 and February 2001, pled guilty to the federal charges in January. He will be sentenced April 9.


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