Bush transition teams show heavy pro-employer bias

Perhaps foreshadowing things to come, President-elect George W. Bush has released the names of members of his transportation and labor transition advisory teams -- and it doesn't look good for labor.

The transportation team includes representatives of CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific, but there are no representatives of rail labor. John Snow, CEO of CSX, and Dick Davidson, CEO of Union Pacific, are among the railroads' representatives to the team.

The American Shortline and Regional Railroad Association Director, Frank Turner, also is a member of the transportation team, as are Lew Eisenburg, the director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and former SEPTA General Manager David Girard-DiCarlo.

Eisenburg's Port Authority has made a number attempts to take its PATH commuter rail system out from under the jurisdiction of the Federal Railroad Administration and all railroad industry federal laws. If successful, these attempts would have dire consequences for the employees of the Port Authority rail system.

Girard-DiCarlo may also be a familiar name to BLE members. During his tenure as SEPTA's General Manager, he presided over the 108 day lock-out of BLE members and other SEPTA workers in 1983. This strike was devastating for the members and their families, although it fell short of its union-busting goal.

Things do not look much better on the labor transition advisory team. On that team, labor is out-represented 21-2.

The two labor members are both from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, John Murphy and Carlow Scalf. Union Pacific and other transportation employer interests also successfully infiltrated this team.

The BLE and labor knew that it would be a rocky road ahead with another Bush Administration and this transition team clearly demonstrates that our concerns were valid.

On the brighter side, Transportation Labor applauded the nomination of Norm Mineta as Secretary of Transportation.

"Mineta is a tremendous leader who understands the freight and passenger transportation needs of our nation," said Sonny Hall, President of the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department. "To that end, we look forward to working with (him), a strong supporter of transportation workers during his distinguished career in public office."

Mineta is currently Secretary of Commerce and a former chairman of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee.

Mineta's overarching reputation is as a bipartisan pragmatist whose ideology is to rebuild America's aging transportation infrastructure and to find ways to pay for it.

2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers