Discussions on remote control arbitration ongoing

Are the carriers obligated to assign remote control operations to locomotive engineers?

This is the question the BLE is preparing to submit for arbitration.

On January 14, 2002, United States District Judge Joan Gottschall held that the dispute between six major carriers and the BLE is a "minor dispute" under the Railway Labor Act that must be arbitrated. The federal judge issued an injunction against any strike or job action by the BLE in response to the carriers' implementation of remote control technology "in their terminal operations in and around terminals."

Since the Judge issued her order and injunction, BLE counsel has been engaged in discussions with counsel for the carriers regarding the format the arbitration will take. The parties had not yet arrived at an arbitration agreement when the Newsletter went to press. General Chairmen for all general committees with agreements on the six properties have been kept up to date on the negotiations and have offered suggestions and assistance that will ensure that every reasonable argument against the carriers' rash actions gets presented in the arbitration.

The court's injunction does not allow the carriers to extend remote control operations beyond terminal operations. Judge Gottschall made it clear that the carriers could not use the restraint she placed on BLE to service customers outside terminals with locomotives operated by remote control without locomotive engineers, absent agreement with the BLE.


2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers