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Advisory Board Revises Code of Compliance for DLC program

CLEVELAND, December 30 — The Advisory Board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen has revised its Code of Compliance, Protocol for Designation and Rules of Conduct regarding the attorneys it recommends to its members who are injured on the job (commonly referred to as “Designated Legal Counsel”).

The new regulations govern the interaction of its officers, members and employees with Designated Legal Counsel, and alters the way firms obtain designated status. The regulations also establish a standing committee of Advisory Board members to monitor the DLC program.

The revised Code of Compliance Protocol for Designation and Rules of Conduct were drafted by a committee appointed by the Advisory Board which had as its objective to review and recommend changes to the existing protocol for Designated Legal Counsel. The Advisory Board committee was comprised of National Secretary-Treasurer Bill Walpert who acted as chairman; Vice President Steve Speagle; and Vice President Marcus Ruef.

“Our members have placed a tremendous amount of trust in us as their leaders,” the BLET Advisory Board wrote in adopting the new regulations. “They expect every officer and employee at every level of the Union to ensure that their behavior is instilled with ethical practices so that every action taken on behalf of the Union is one to be proud of.”

The BLET Advisory Board adopted the new regulations on December 17, 2009. They will apply to all officers at the National Division level, all General Committees of Adjustment, all State Legislative Boards, all Divisions, and all employees.

The new regulations explicitly prohibit any BLET officer or employee at any level of the organization from soliciting or accepting any gift (except gifts of minimal value), payment, money, loan, promise, or agreement, or anything of tangible or intangible value, from any employer, Designated Legal Counsel, or attorney seeking designated status, who is attempting to promote the officer’s or employee’s candidacy for office, attempting to influence any election on any issue within the organization requiring a vote, and/or has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance of an officer’s or employee’s official duties.

The new regulations also prohibit Designated Legal Counsel from offering the same.

DLC firms must also submit an annual report confirming that they are continuing to abide by the Rules of Conduct. In addition, the regulations shift oversight of the Designated Legal Counsel program away from the National President and to the Advisory Board.

BLET National President Paul Sorrow hailed passage of the stricter Code of Compliance and Protocol for Designation and Rules of Conduct.

“The Designated Legal Counsel program is an important and integral part of protecting the rights of our members working under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act,” President Sorrow said. “The new rules ensure the firms who have achieved designated status, or those attempting to gain designated status, abide by a code of ethics that promotes the spirit of our Brotherhood.

“That same code of ethics also governs our officers and employees, giving our members the peace of mind that those working on their behalf are operating in good faith.”

A standing committee of Advisory Board members has been appointed under the new Code of Compliance to investigate complaints that arise under the DLC program. The standing committee consists of: Vice President Steve Speagle; Vice President & National Legislative Representative John Tolman; and Vice President & Arbitration Director Marcus Ruef.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009
bentley@ble-t.org

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