Judge impounds merger ballots

CLEVELAND, September 17 -- U.S. District Judge Ann Aldrich today granted a preliminary injunction, which, for the foreseeable future, effectively halts the proposed merger of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers with the United Transportation Union.

In her ruling, Judge Aldrich ordered the American Arbitration Association (AAA) to "impound all ballots cast by BLE members, to refrain from making the results of any ongoing or final tally of the votes known to any of the parties or to any third party, and to preserve the cast ballots under seal pending the resolution of this lawsuit."

AAA is the neutral party responsible for collecting and counting the ballots in the proposed merger. The original lawsuit was filed by three officers of the BLE in Cleveland on September 10.

The Court has not issued a memorandum explaining its reasons for granting the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction.

"It is unfortunate the Judge has chosen, in effect, to interfere with our International Convention by prohibiting our delegates from knowing the decision of the membership with regard to the merger question," BLE International President Edward Dubroski said. "Because of this ruling, our delegates will have to conduct and transact all business as if the merger has not been approved, in order to fully protect the best interests of the BLE."

No date has been set by the Court for further proceedings.

The text of Judge Aldrich's ruling is available below:


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September 17, 2001


2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers