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Rail News: Labor

UTU carries out short strike against BNSF


Yesterday, about 8,000 United Transportation Union-represented workers conducted a strike against BNSF Railway Co. affecting the former Burlington Northern Railroad portion of the Class I’s system.

However, the strike only lasted 90 minutes. A federal district court in Minneapolis urged the union to halt the strike while the court reviews UTU's motion for a preliminary injunction.

The union filed the motion “in response to BNSF's unilateral change to a UTU agreement,” according to a prepared statement. The agreement states engineers with train-service seniority can only use that seniority if they cannot hold an engineer's position. The agreement sought to prevent junior engineers from being forced to vacant engineer positions if senior engineers wanted to remain in train service, UTU officials said.

This month, BNSF violated the agreement by permitting engineers, who could hold an engineer position, to remain in train service, UTU officials claim.

“Our position is this was an unlawful work stoppage over a minor dispute,” says BNSF spokesman Pat Hiatte.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/28/2005