BLE, UTU to send merger proposal to membership

CLEVELAND, July 23, 2001 -- Leaders of the two unions representing railroad operating and other transportation employees in the U.S. and Canada -- the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) and the United Transportation Union (UTU) -- announced today that agreement has been reached to merge their unions, subject to ratification by each union's rank and file. In a telephone conference call Sunday afternoon, the BLE's Advisory Board authorized the union to submit the proposal to the membership.

In announcing the proposed merger, BLE International President Edward Dubroski and UTU International President Byron A. Boyd, Jr., issued the following joint statement:

"After 3 1/2 years of on-again, off-again discussions, it's time for the members of both unions to decide on the question of merger. We are asking our members to approve the creation of the largest combined rail, bus and air union in North America. It joins the best of the proud, historic and democratic principles embodied in both the BLE and the UTU, and has as its goal the protection and advancement of each of the autonomous crafts in which our members work.

"The merged union would produce substantial financial savings by ending hostilities that have distracted both of us from doing what we are paid to do -- represent our members' interests with railroads and other transportation companies -- and by providing for streamlined operations. Most importantly, the new union would vastly enhance our power and influence at the bargaining table, in state legislatures and provincial parliaments, and in the halls of national legislatures in Washington and Ottawa."

The merged union would be named the United Transportation Union - Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (UTU-BLE), and the logos of both unions would be retained. The Unification Agreement, Constitution and a ratification ballot are being prepared for mailing to the active members of each union.

If approved, the merger would become effective on January 1, 2002. UTU-BLE would have approximately 185,000 members, and would be the bargaining representative for all unionized rail operating employees in the U.S. and Canada, yardmasters, Canadian rail traffic controllers and thousands of other railroad, bus, air and mass transit workers in both countries.


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July 23, 2001


2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers