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Seven UTU officers can intervene in SMART merger case, federal court rules

Yesterday, a federal district court ruled that six United Transportation Union (UTU) international vice presidents and the union's national legislative director can intervene as party defendants in a case challenging a merger between the UTU and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA). Former UTU President Paul Thompson cannot intervene in the case, the court determined.

Currently on hold by court order, the merger — which originally was set to take place Jan. 1 — would create the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Workers.

The June 18 decision is a procedural step and the court still must decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the merger. That ruling is expected within 10 days, the UTU said. A preliminary injunction would keep the merger on hold until the case is completed and any appeals are exhausted.

The court will allow UTU International Vice Presidents John Babler, Vic Baffoni, Roy Boling, J.R. "Jim" Cumby, John Fitzgerald and Tony Iannone, and National Legislative Director James Brunkenhoefer to intervene in the case.

The officers support the merger, which was halted in December by a temporary restraining order issued in response to a complaint by four UTU rank-and-file members that union members had not been given a constitution to examine prior to a merger agreement forged by the UTU and SMWIA. The plaintiffs believe members weren't aware of conflicts between the UTU's and SMWIA's constitutions.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/19/2008