President Dubroski says,"We cannot agree to engage in voluntary discussions with the UTU"

In a decision that could significantly impact the future of the BLE and all operating crafts in the railroad industry, the National Mediation Board on December 30 announced it would not rule on the UTU's allegation that a representation dispute exists on the Union Pacific Railroad.

Instead, the Board announced that the dispute would be settled by a three-member panel of "labor relations professionals," and that a decision would be announced no later than March 1. Profiles of Arnold M. Zack, Richard I. Bloch and Richard R. Kasher appear on page 7 of this issue.

Full story

BLE membership skyrockets

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers has gained over 1,300 new members in four months by holding a string of successful "Town Hall" meetings across the Union Pacific property.

Four rail brotherhoods commit to solidarity

On December 6 and 7, 1999, four transportation unions met to discuss issues and methods to improve the working and living conditions of their memberships. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE), the Transport Workers Union (TWU), the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE) and the American Train Dispatchers (ATDD) made specific commitments to work together collectively for such improvements and develop an ever closer relationship.

BLE issues in-depth report on positive train control

With an eye toward the future, and in a continued effort to protect the safety of all operating employees, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers co-authored an in-depth report submitted to the FRA's Rail Safety Advisory Committee regarding the benefits and potential dangers of Positive Train Control (PTC).

Part 1: Reliance and Distraction effects in Positive Train Control automation

By T. B. Sheridan (MIT), F. C. Gamst (Univ. of Mass., Boston), and R. A. Harvey, BLE

This document was requested by T. Raslear of the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) on 3/3/99 of the PTC Human Factors Team in conjunction with ongoing discussions of PTC standards. The charge was to investigate the "reliance effect" and the "distraction effect," where definition and focus were left to the authors.

Legislative Update: Briefs

  • Legislation would stop locomotives from operating in reverse
  • Staff changes at FRA
  • SOFA Working Group studies switching operations, safety
  • Three rail safety bills currently pending before Congress
  • BLE, Steelworkers protest use of non-union rails by BART

In the Line of Duty: Yvan Theriault

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fiery crash of two Canadian National freight trains on December 30, 1999 in Mont-St.- Hilaire, Quebec. Two railroad workers were killed, including BLE member Yvan Theriault. Also killed was Conductor Paul Davis.

Mort Dans L'Exercice De Ses Fonctions: Yvan Thériault

Les enquêteurs essaient de trouver la cause d'une collision extrêmement violente de deux trains marchandises du Canadien National le 30 décembre 1999 au Mont St-Hilaire, Québec. Les deux travailleurs du chemin de fer ont été tués, incluant le membre de la FIL Yvan Thériault. Le chef de train Paul Davis est aussi décédé lors de la collision.

In the Line of Duty: R.A. Oertwig

BLE member R.A. Oertwig was killed, and two others were injured, when a Union Pacific freight train struck a tractor pulling a manure trailer tank November 6, 1999, in rural Hardin County, Iowa.

Merger mania continues: BNSF, CN propose $19 billion combination

On December 20, 1999, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Canadian National confirmed rumors that had been circulating for several weeks and announced they would merge into a $19 billion holding company to create North America's largest railroad. The new company, to be called North American Railways Inc., will be based in Montreal and will boast almost 50,000 miles of track, stretching from Halifax on the Atlantic coast to Vancouver on the Pacific and southward to New Orleans and Los Angeles.

BLE halts bogus UP safety program

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers was victorious over the Union Pacific Railroad on December 16 as it obtained a temporary restraining order that halted the railroad's implementation of a bogus "Safety Awareness Training" program.

BLE fights for worker safety on Montana Rail Link

On December 9, the United Transportation Union's fog machine was cranked into high gear -- injecting a couple of atoms of fact into a 55-gallon drum of fantasy -- concerning a move by Montana Rail Link (MRL) to introduce remote-controlled locomotive operation in its Laurel, Montana yard.

Who are the three members of the NMB panel?

The three members of the panel chosen by the National Mediation Board to resolve the BLE-UTU dispute are noted for their vast wealth of experience and knowledge in labor relations.

BLE scores big win for post-85 engineers on NS

Setting the tone for the current round of national wage negotiations, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers has reached a tentative agreement with Norfolk Southern that will have a positive impact for post-85 engineers.

Rail retirees meet in Trenton, NJ

An invitation has been extended to railroad retirees from the Pennsylvania Railroad, Amtrak, Conrail, Reading Railroad, and New Jersey Transit, to meet with other retirees who get together on a regular basis for snacks and conversation.


Volume 14 - Number 1
January 2000


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