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2/28/2002



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BLE mulls Teamsters merger


After a failed merger attempt late last year with United Transportation Union — and a current Class I representation fight with UTU, starting with Kansas City SouthernBrotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Feb. 27 announced plans to explore a merger with International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the largest union in AFL-CIO and North America's largest transportation union.
BLE's board approved a motion enabling the union's executive committee to conduct merger talks with Teamsters officials.
"There is still a long way to go, but this is a first step in the right
direction," said BLE International President Don Hahs in a prepared statement. "The strength, size and reputation of the Teamsters would give BLE an added advantage in lobbying efforts and in negotiating contracts."
Teamsters officials recently met with BLE board members during AFL-CIO's winter meeting in New Orleans; Hahs and Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa also recently met regarding a possible merger or affiliation.
A section in BLE's constitution and bylaws would govern the union as it considers a merger or affiliation with other labor unions.
"BLE members will be kept fully informed as this process unfolds," Hahs said. "We will strictly adhere to Section 1(e) of the constitution."
However, UTU officials believe BLE's constitution prohibits BLE from consummating a merger for at least 275 days after announcing a proposed merger, according to a statement posted Feb. 27 to UTU's Web site.
Teamsters, founded in 1903, represents more than 1.4 million U.S. and Canadian transportation workers.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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