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BLET prevails in injunction hearing

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, June 14 — Following a June 11 hearing, a federal judge in El Paso, Texas has issued a Preliminary Injunction against Union Pacific Railroad (UP) to reverse the unlawful suspensions of a group of six members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) — five of whom are elected officers of Division 192 in El Paso. The Injunction will remain in effect until further order of the Court.

This ruling comes on the heels of a June 2 Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), in which the judge ruled that all these union members had been wrongfully suspended by the UP in violation of the Railway Labor Act (RLA). UP had suspended them following a physical altercation at a private union meeting that was off-duty and completely off company premises. Rather than comply with the TRO, UP filed a Motion for Reconsideration and Dissolution, and demanded a hearing on the matter.

The Preliminary Injunction found that “[i]t is essential that the Court issue temporary and preliminary injunctive relief to prevent immediate and irreparable injury” to the BLET in order preserve “employees’ rights under the [Railway Labor Act] to engage in organizing and union activity ….” The Court’s Order also found that the Injunction was in the public interest, that “far more injury will be done to” the BLET in denying the Injunction than to UP from granting the Union’s request, that there “is no adequate remedy at law for the stifling of rights to be free of undue interference, influence or coercion” caused by UP’s conduct and that “there is a strong likelihood that [the BLET] will prevail in their arguments.”

Accordingly, UP is “restrained and enjoined from engaging in surveillance of the Union and its members” and “from unlawfully interfering with the Union in its representational capacities.” UP also is “restrained and enjoined from unlawfully interfering with, influencing and/or coercing UP employees represented by BLET and its representatives” and was again ordered to “reinstate to work in their former positions” the Division 192 officers and member who had been removed from service.

BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce hailed those involved in defending the BLET and its members.

“I want to congratulate the officers and members of Division 192 for standing up for their right to conduct Union business free from Carrier interference,” President Pierce said. “I also want to thank General Chairman Brian Carr and our legal counsel for their hard work in prevailing at the hearing.”

A copy of the Preliminary Injunction is available here (PDF):

Monday, June 14, 2021

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