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1/20/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BLE files dissent in locomotive remote-control arbitration case




On Jan. 16, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers filed a dissent to an arbitrator's recent decision in the locomotive remote-control arbitration case.


BLE believes the decision was an "aberration" that was "fundamentally flawed," according to a prepared statement.


"As far back as 1944, the carriers and BLE expressed their understanding in
the so-called 'Diesel Agreements' that a locomotive consist could be
operated from one cab by one engineer with one set of controls and that
the 'duties and responsibilities of engineers' regardless of the size of a
consist 'will not be assigned to others,'" wrote BLE International President Don Hahs in the dissent, adding that the operation of locomotives to move cars and freight is what those duties and responsibilities "have always been."


BLE also disagrees with the arbitrator's assertion that a computer or
microprocessor has replaced or eliminated engineers' duties.


"The board has mistakenly compared this situation to advances in radio telemetry and data input," wrote Hahs. "This is a case where the carrier, under the guise of technological advancement, has assigned the actual duties and responsibilities of one craft to another."


On Jan. 10, the arbitrator ruled that there's no national rule or precedence in national bargaining that specifically reserves remote-control operations to BLE, or prohibits a carrier from assigning such work to other crafts or eliminating engineer jobs as a result of technology.



Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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