IBT/BLE score organizing win

Joint organizing effort leads to victory for Iowa, Chicago & Eastern employees

The joint International Brotherhood of Teamsters/Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Rail Operating Employees' Council scored its first-ever organizing victory on the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad (IC&E).

Approximately 300 workers will now enjoy union representation as a result of the IBT/BLE organizing victory, the results of which were announced by the National Mediation Board on December 17.

"We look forward to working with management to obtain a fair and equitable agreement for the employees," BLE President Don Hahs said. "It's our goal to develop a positive relationship that will be beneficial to both our members and the company."

President Hahs thanked the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, IBT/BLE Organizers Tom Miller and Jim Bradford, and local Teamsters for their efforts in the successful organizing drive. Brother Miller thanked the BLE's Education & Training Department, the BLE International Division, and the IC&E employees for choosing union representation.

"This victory clearly demonstrates the strength our unions have by working together," said James P. Hoffa, Teamsers General President. "We look forward to continuing our relationship with the BLE."

President Hoffa thanked Teamster Local 41 in Kansas City, Mo., and Teamster Local 371 in Rock Island, Ill., for their efforts.

On November 18 in Davenport, Iowa, the joint IBT/IBLE Rail Operating Employees' Council held its first-ever rally. Two large Teamster trucks - one from Chicago and one from Indianapolis - served as rally headquarters for the IBT/BLE representatives. The trucks were parked at two separate locations in the Quad Cities area and served as a rallying point for IC&E employees as they reported for work.

In July, the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad (DM&E) purchased the I&M Rail Link (also known as IMRL) and changed its name to the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad. In doing so, the company abolished union representation.

The DM&E, which owns 1,100 miles of track, purchased the IMRL, which owned 1,400 miles of track, for a reported $150 million. The former IMRL tracks connect the Twin Cities, Chicago and Kansas City. DM&E is in the process of upgrading its system to carry coal from Wyoming's Powder River Basin across South Dakota and southern Minnesota.



© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers