7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, Ohio 44131 • (216) 241-2630 / Fax: (216) 241-6516

News and Issues
User Info

BLET, SMART-TD suits seek immediate halt to Amtrak vaccine mandate

CLEVELAND, Ohio, December 9 — The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD) yesterday filed motions for a preliminary injunction, seeking to immediately halt a unilaterally implemented vaccine mandate imposed by Amtrak, and require the carrier to negotiate over the issue.

Through the motions, the BLET and SMART-TD seek to restore and preserve the status quo that was in place prior to the implementation of the mandate.

This action is a follow-up to two November 23rd Complaints filed by BLET and SMART-TD against Amtrak. In those suits, the unions allege, among other things, that the carrier’s unilaterally implemented vaccine mandate is a direct violation of the Railway Labor Act. The carrier made no effort to bargain with the unions over their vaccine mandate, or the effects of the mandate, despite the fact that the parties have long been engaged in negotiations for successor agreements, and that all parties have a duty to maintain the status quo regarding working conditions during such negotiations.

The BLET and SMART-TD are actively embroiled in similar lawsuits with four other rail carriers: BNSF, Metra, Norfolk Southern (NS), and Union Pacific (UP). The litigation is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

In related news, two district courts have recently blocked enforcement of vaccine mandates for federal contractors. Most recently, on December 7, U.S. District Judge Stan Baker in Savannah, Georgia issued a nationwide injunction which temporarily halts the vaccine mandate issued by the Biden administration through an Executive Order.

BLET and SMART-TD will continue to monitor this case and other related legal challenges to determine if there is any impact on rail carriers.

President Pierce and President Ferguson issued the following joint statement: “The language contained in the Railway Labor Act is clear cut, and the carriers’ unilateral implementation of their vaccine mandates without negotiating with the union is a direct violation of the Railway Labor Act. We will continue to stand up for the rights of our members.”


The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen represents nearly 57,000 professional locomotive engineers and trainmen throughout the United States. The BLET is the founding member of the Rail Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members of the former United Transportation Union, who work in a variety of crafts in the transportation industry.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Like us on Facebook at

Sign up for BLET News Flash Alerts

© 1997-2022 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

National Negotiations

ND Officers Election Rules

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts


Rail traffic down for 3rd straight week to kick off 2022
Norfolk Southern’s Q4 2021 profit up 13% on higher rates
TCI’s railroading tactics
Hoffa: Teamsters laud the America Competes Act
LA-LV high-speed rail makes progress
UP bumps up security after cargo thefts near LA rail yard
RRB Q&A: Annuitants may need to increase tax withholding at age 62
COVID-19 vaccine mandates and Unemployment and Sickness Benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA)
Get the latest labor news from the Teamsters

More Headlines