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Rail News: Labor

UTU/SMWIA merger on hold till June; internal trials of seven UTU officers put off till July


The United Transportation Union (UTU)/Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) merger that's been in limbo since late 2007 will remain so until late spring.

Last week, a federal district court in Akron, Ohio, extended a temporary restraining order for a second time. The order halting the implementation of the merger — under which the unions had planned to combine Jan. 1 to create the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Workers — will stay in place until at least early June, the UTU said. The order previously was extended from mid-February to early May.

Late last year, a group of UTU members filed a lawsuit to block the merger, claiming union members weren't aware of conflicts between the UTU's and SMART's constitutions, and weren't given sufficient information with which to make an informed decision when they approved the merger.

Meanwhile, UTU's executive board postponed the trials of six international vice presidents and the union's national legislative director, all of whom have been charged internally with improper conduct relating to the merger. The trials won't begin until at least July, the UTU said.

The defendants are VPs John Babler, Vic Baffoni, Roy Boling, J.R. Cumby, John Fitzgerald and C.A. "Tony" Iannone, and National Legislative Director James Brunkenhoefer.