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12/12/2003



Rail News: Labor

BMWE to continue merger talks with the Teamsters


Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes' (BMWE) and International Brotherhood of Teamsters' (IBT) merger committees recently scheduled a second planning session for Jan. 13-15 in Washington, DC., to discuss a merger agreement. The committees previously met in Washington Nov. 12 and 13.

Similar to Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers' recent merger with IBT — through which BLE became the first rail-labor union to become a division of IBT's U.S. and Canadian rail conferences — BMWE would become an autonomous division of both conferences if the unions merge. But a BMWE/IBT marriage wouldn't completely mirror the BLE/IBT transaction.

"We would consider those provisions of the BLE model that made sense for BMWE, [but] we would deviate from the BLE [merger] where it did not meet the needs of the BMWE," said Acting BMWE President Freddie Simpson in the union's Nov./Dec. newsletter.

A majority of U.S. and Canadian BMWE members voiced support for an IBT merger in telephone surveys conducted in late September and early October. In the United States, 59 percent of those polled approved the merger, 14 percent were opposed and 26 percent were undecided. In Canada, 35 percent of polled members favored the transaction, 25 percent were against it and 36 percent were undecided.

"The membership of BMWE has recognized the need for a strategic merger, and we are following their mandate in our talks with the IBT," said Simpson.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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