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12/13/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BLE, UTU back to war of words, Class I representation


It appears the running feud between Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and United Transportation Union will continue now that their merger plans are up in flames.
BLE International President Don Hahs in a statement prepared Dec. 12 answered a volley lobbed Dec. 10 by UTU International President Byron Boyd Jr. when he announced that UTU would pursue winner-take-all representation elections on all Class Is, beginning with Kansas City Southern.
"If you read what UTU is putting out on its Web site, it seems very clear that they intend to continue this war and fire the next shot on the KCS property," said Hahs. "Even as we move forward with other objectives, we must first prepare to fight back over whether or not we have the right to continue our existence as the senior rail labor organization in North America. Without hesitation. Without reservation. With every resource we've got."
Major concerns such as negotiating a new labor contract, improving safety and ensuring the president signs the rail retirement bill aside, Hahs claims BLE is organizing an all-out effort to defend its KCS representation. The union plans to seek help from the AFL-CIO, other rail unions, leaders of every transportation industry union, and "every [BLE] international officer, special representative and all others who are willing to join in our defense," he said.
"We will work day and night for as long as it takes until we successfully stop the attempt to destroy [workers'] right to belong to the union that represents and fights for [their] craft," said Hahs.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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