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Recent remote control history clarified

CLEVELAND, May 17 -- In response to the continuing disinformation from the United Transportation Union's propaganda machine, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers' Executive Committee has issued a letter to the union's Advisory Board and its General Chairmen which sets the record straight regarding the recent history of remote control technology.

The Executive Committee, made up of International President Don Hahs, First Vice-President & Alternate President Edward Rodzwicz and General Secretary-Treasurer William Walpert, issued the letter on May 10.

In the letter, the BLE Executive Committee points out that the UTUís leaders are "masters of spin."

"They use half truths, misleading statements and catchy phrases to justify their actions," the letter states. "Railroad employees in general, and train and engine service employees, in particular, should not allow themselves to be derailed by the UTUís distracting public relations efforts..."

Recent UTU propaganda falsely claims that UTU invited BLE to jointly negotiate with the carriers over remote control technology in October of 2001. "This is far from true," the Executive Committee wrote. In reality, the UTU used its remote control letter of intent with the carriers in an attempt to blackmail the BLE's newly elected Executive Committee -- two months before the actual merger vote had been counted.

"This letter became a threat -- merge or else," the Executive Committee wrote. "If (UTU President Byron) Boyd and (UTU Assistant President) Thompson truly wanted that merger to go through, grabbing the letter of intent was about the most counterproductive thing they could have done."

The BLE Executive Committee wrote that railroad workers across the country have been -- or will be -- negatively impacted by this UTU-carrier letter of intent.

"The railroad put the remote control operations into effect without an agreement," the Executive Committee wrote. "Train service employees have been performing engineers' work at lesser rates of pay than they would normally have received. They now have more onerous jobs that they are not properly trained for, which makes those jobs potentially unsafe. All this strategy has accomplished is the loss of hundreds of engine and train service jobs with all the reduction in labor costs going toward the railroads' bottom line."

The Executive Committee also gave its perspective on the UTUís "pro company" approach to representing its members.

"UTU's leadership has adopted an approach different from the rest of Labor," the Executive Committee wrote. "It is a defeatist approach. It has been described to us by UTU's leaders as being modern and recognizing that Rail Labor 'doesn't win,' for the Carriers have the upper hand in government, the federal agencies, the courts, and therefore, we have to stop butting our heads against the brick wall and join the railroads."

The letter describes this "defeatist approach" as the UTU's "let's join 'em" policy.

For the full text of the letter, click here:

Friday, May 17, 2002

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