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Locomotive remote-control technology is 'simply an issue over jobs and who has them,' UTU says

United Transportation Union's international officers confirmed once again that because there was no practical way of stopping U.S. railroads from implementing locomotive remote controls (LRCs), ensuring that LRC work belonged to UTU members was the correct strategy. Union officers recently met in Kansas City, Mo.

"I would much rather explain to our members why we have the work than why the other organization has the work," said UTU International President Byron Boyd Jr. in a prepared statement "No one should be persuaded that this is a safety issue. It is simply an issue over jobs and who has them."

Although Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers questions LRC safety, the union is doing everything it can to gain jurisdiction over the work, said UTU General Secretary and Treasurer Dan Johnson.

"The other organization pressed aggressively at an arbitration hearing to take that work away from UTU members and transfer it to its own members," he said.

BLE is asking nationwide city councils to pass ordinances that ban or limit LRCs, but not in Montana, where BLE represents Montana Rail Link workers who use remote controls, said UTU Assistant President Paul Thompson.

"That is because the other organization has no desire to relinquish that work," he said.

So far, seven U.S. cities have passed resolutions either banning or limiting LRC use.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/3/2003