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Rail News: Labor

BLET sets strategy, structures trainmen department under Teamsters umbrella

Last week, members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) division of the Teamsters Rail Conference conducted their first strategic planning session under the Teamsters' banner. Advisory board members discussed the union's approach to collective bargaining, locomotive remote controls, safety, fatigue and security.

Members also structured the trainmen department within the union and named BLET Vice President Merle Geiger department head.

"The trainmen department will respond to the increasing demand we have received from trainmen since the merger of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the Teamsters earlier this year," said Teamsters General President James Hoffa and BLET National President Don Hahs in a jointly prepared statement. "Assurances on maintaining contract provisions for trainmen are pivotal in demonstrating our commitment to the craft."

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) represents more than 1.4 million U.S. and Canadian workers. With the former BLE now part of the Teamsters, IBT plans to entice other transportation unions — including the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes — to join its ranks.

"The IBT envisions a complete transportation union," said Hoffa. "Welcoming trainmen into our great union is a significant move toward fulfilling that vision."

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More News from 3/2/2004