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Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois consolidated multiple lawsuits that had been filed in the Illinois federal court, including ones by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and two other rail unions challenging two Class I carriers' implementation of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Union Pacific Railroad and Norfolk Southern Railway announced in October that they would issue company-wide mandates that offered incentives for unionized employees who receive the COVID-19 vaccination and potential furlough for those who do not.
The unions argued that the carriers' unilateral implementation of their mandates bypassed the collective-bargaining process and filed separate injunctions seeking that the status quo be maintained until the bargaining process be completed, BLET officials said in a press release.
The Nov. 17 court ruling combines those matters with legal action previously taken by UP and NS.