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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Tex Mex workers chose BLE in lieu of UTU


With winner-take-all elections on U.S. Class Is still looming on the horizon, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and United Transportation Union received the outcome of a similar — albeit smaller — representation battle on The Texas Mexican Railway Co.

In a vote certified July 15 by National Mediation Board (NMB), Tex Mex workers (currently represented by UTU) voted 60-49 in favor of BLE representing its 120 train and engine-service workers.

BLE for more than two years has sought to represent Tex Mex locomotive engineers: NMB in March 2000 ruled in favor of UTU's petition to combine operating crafts on Tex Mex and placed a two-year ban on representation elections to promote "labor stability" on the railroad. BLE petitioned NMB after the ban to hold a representation election for the combined craft of train and engine-service employees.

"While we don't agree with the concept of combining operating crafts, the
craft of 'train and engine-service employee' was forced on the workers by
the UTU's previous petition, and we were required to work under the
confines of the NMB's decision," said BLE International President Don Hahs in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, UTU has its eye on a much bigger prize: a winner-take-all election on Tex Mex parent Kansas City Southern. NMB hasn't ruled on UTU's petition for that election.

"We will support the choice made by the employees on the Tex Mex and we wish them well with their new representation," said UTU International President Byron Boyd Jr. "The good news is that the employees on the Tex Mex will now have one single representative for the historical operating crafts, as is our position before the NMB in the KCS matter."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/16/2002