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BMWE: Labor department's attempt to overturn year-old officer elections 'may not be valid and/or warranted'

Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a complaint in a federal court seeking to overturn the election of three Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE) officers that occurred at the union's July 2002 convention in Las Vegas. Officers' names weren't disclosed.

Labor department officials believe two officers used union funds to promote their candidacy; one used union office equipment to prepare campaign literature, and the other used "union office equipment and secretarial help to prepare and electronically transmit campaign literature," according to the complaint.

The department also alleges that a third officer used "employer funds," relying on an unnamed employer to pay a campaign consultant's fee.

BMWE officials recently reviewed the complaint and believe the department's attempt to overturn the election "may not be valid and/or warranted," according to a prepared statement released Aug. 1. The department must prove that the officers violated the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, and affected the election's outcome, BMWE officials said.

"This union is proud of its history of conducting clean elections [and BMWE] will continue to look into this matter," union officials said. "If we discover that some form of corrective measures must be instituted to continue honest and clean elections in the future, we will endeavor to get that done. Further, should we find any of the three members identified in the complaint, or any outside entity associated with this Brotherhood, committed improprieties during our last election in July 2002, we will appropriately address that situation, as well."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/5/2003