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Hearing held before U.S. District Court over remote control issue

CLEVELAND, May 17 -- A hearing was held on May 15, 2002 before U. S. District Judge Gottshall on BLE's Motion to Enforce or Amend the Injunction issued on January 16, 2002 in the Class I Railroads' action on remote control. At that time, the District Court enjoined BLE and its subordinate entities and members from striking over remote control operations and directing BLE to arbitration.

Since the January decision, the carriers have refused BLE's proposals for a fair and impartial arbitration, and the UTU interjected itself into the process as a full participant on the basis of a ruling in 1998 won by the BLE in the Eighth Circuit.

At the hearing, BLE urged the court to join UTU as an indispensable party to the case and then to vacate the injunction or set up an expedited arbitration process with a fair and impartial panel and the neutral member or members of the panel having to side with the majority.

The court made UTU a party and denied BLE's motion for the court to condition continuation of the injunction by prescribing the method to choose the panel, the panel's composition, and a means to break any deadlock. The court directed BLE to invoke the procedures specified in Section 3, Second of the Railway Labor Act. Judge Gottshall also informed BLE that it should come back to her after the merits decision of the Section 3, Second Board if the issues raised by BLE were not satisfactorily answered by the arbitrator.

Friday, May 17, 2002

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