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BLET strikers ordered back to work, railroad ordered to stop using supervisors

CLEVELAND, September 20 — Late this afternoon, United States District Court Judge John R. Adams issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in Akron, Ohio, ending a strike that began this morning by locomotive engineers and by trainmen represented by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) against the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway (WLE). According to court documents filed by the railroad, which normally operates an average of 45-50 trains per day, the walkout stopped virtually all train activity.

The strike was triggered by WLE’s repudiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreements that cover the two operating crafts by using supervisors to perform the work of the engineers and the trainmen, ignoring longstanding crew consist agreements and operating single-person operations in an effort to eliminate trainmen.

Following an emergency hearing, Judge Adams ordered the strikers to return to work, and to refrain from any form of economic self-help or job action against the railroad, including delaying anyone from performing his or her work for the railroad. However, the judge conditioned the TRO “on WLE’s agreement not to use supervisors or other management employees in place of engineers or conductors in the operation of its trains.”

The TRO will remain in effect until a hearing can be held on the railroad’s request for a longer-term injunction.

BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said, “I hope that the condition imposed by the Judge will lead W&LE to recognize the importance of this issue to our members, who now will be returning to work with the assurance that while the matter is under consideration by the Court, no further provocative actions may be taken by the Carrier.”

Pierce also said, “In addition to General Chairman Bob Linsey, Local Chairmen Kevin Nahrebecki and Lonnie Swigert, and all officers and members of Division 292, I want to thank General Counsel Mike Wolly and his team for their outstanding efforts in protecting our members’ rights. They embody what it means to be proud to be American, proud to be Union.”

A copy of the Temporary Restraining Order is available here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

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