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5/7/2004



Rail News: Labor

UP is violating an agreement by replacing locomotive engineers with officers, UTU says



Yesterday, the United Transportation Union filed a motion with a federal district court in Oakland, Calif., seeking an injunction against Union Pacific Railroad that would prevent the Class I from using management employees to operate locomotives. Union officials believe those actions violate a 1985 labor agreement.

"UP [is using] company officers, such as road foremen and trainmasters, to operate its locomotives because it has historically sought to avoid the costs of having to promote conductors, brakemen and yardmen to higher-paying engineer positions, and avoid training new employees to fill the vacant conductor, brakemen and yardmen positions," said UTU International President Paul Thompson in a prepared statement.

Last month, UP reached a tentative agreement with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen that enables the Class I to fill locomotive engineer vacancies by assigning railroad officers instead of promoting conductors, brakemen and yardmen as specified in the 1985 agreement, UTU officials allege.

UP officials wouldn't comment on the motion until they could study the court documents.

"The UTU has no choice but to ask a federal court to force the railroad to honor its labor agreements," said Thompson. "Until Union Pacific honors those agreements, there is little likelihood it will correct its extreme service failures and be in a position to handle its customers' freight this summer and fall."


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