UTU attacks BLE on KCS after judge impounds merger ballots
CLEVELAND, September 19 -- Just 24 hours after a federal judge enjoined the counting of ballots in the proposed merger between the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) and the United Transportation Union (UTU), the UTU reversed its direction, and launched an attack on BLE members working for the Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS) and other KCS-owned properties.
UTU International President Byron Boyd announced late yesterday afternoon that he had filed an application with the National Mediation Board (NMB), alleging that a representation dispute exists in the single craft of "train and engine service employees" on KCS. Although Boyd stated that "an overwhelming majority" of KCS operating employees signed authorization, or "A" cards, this claim is suspect, because scores of those employees later revoked their signatures when they learned that UTU organizers had misled them about UTU's true intentions.
BLE International President Edward Dubroski blasted Boyd and the UTU leadership for this attack. "This latest move by the Boyd leadership is in direct retaliation against BLE General Committee and Division officers who filed the lawsuit that led to the impounding of the ballots," said Dubroski. "Although we are confident that the allegations made by the plaintiffs lack legal or factual support, I acknowledge and respect the right of these Brothers to pursue any legal remedy available to them.
"The latest actions by the UTU leadership are nothing short of bizarre because, while paying lip service to the memberships' right to decide the question of unification, UTU has acted to short-circuit that entire process that has been in place for over six weeks," Dubroski said.
In a letter faxed to the NMB today, Dubroski warned that "it would be both foolhardy and perilous for the Board to act upon UTU's application. This is all the more so, given the Board's long-held tradition of favoring self-determination of railroad and airline industry workers on the question of representation. Considering the unresolved legal matter currently pending, and in light of the undetermined voting results, action by the Board on UTU's application would be wholly inappropriate at this time."
The BLE's National Mobilization Team and KCS Mobilization Network have been activated, and a field campaign to build support for the BLE is being mounted. In addition, Dubroski is reassigning a portion of the Convention staff to assist in this campaign.
© 2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers