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BLE, Teamsters team up to organize Iowa, Chicago & Eastern

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) and International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) recently pooled their organizing power in an attempt to represent more than 250 Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad Corp. (IC&E) workers.

On Nov. 18, a joint IBT/BLE Rail Operating Employees’ Council held its first-ever rally in Davenport, Iowa, to kick off National Mediation Board’s distribution of ballots to IC&E employees. NMB plans to tabulate votes Dec. 17.

Most of the IC&E workers seeking representation are former BLE members, according to a BLE-prepared statement. In July, Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp. purchased I&M Rail Link, changed its name to IC&E and abolished union representation, BLE said.

"We are working to reorganize the property, and the Teamsters have shown a tremendous amount of support," said BLE International President Don Hahs.

In February, BLE and IBT agreed to seek a merger, and negotiations have proceeded throughout the year. For now, the joint IBT/BLE council enables the unions to join forces in organizing efforts, BLE said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/2/2002