Via Rail: The straight story from TCRC President Halle

According to Gilles Halle, President of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), the UTU is at it again, skewing the facts of a news event for political gain.

Halle called the UTU's recent website posting regarding the Supreme Court of Canada case, Via Rail Canada Inc., et al. V. George Cairns, et al., "a total misstatement of the facts."

The Supreme Court of Canada has not levied any specific fines on the TCRC, BLET or Teamsters, President Halle said. For the UTU to claim so on its website is nothing more than irresponsible speculation, he said.

"The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference views the UTU article in the context that it should be taken - nothing but spin-doctored propaganda. The real intent of this article is to scare the growing number of (the UTU's) Canadian members who are questioning their Canadian autonomy," Halle said.

Regarding the case itself, Halle said it is premature to speculate on the final outcome.

"The next step is to go back to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board and initiate discussions on how to implement their decision," he said. "This will take a few months. There are an abundance of issues that require clarification and any decision on implementation will require a lot of thought and discussion."

Halle also said the UTU release was misguided in stating that the "BLE" would be responsible for a levy or fine resulting from this lawsuit.

"It is not the union that breached a promise, but rather Via Rail when they said that they were going to give conductors equal opportunity for the engineer positions. Via Rail is the one who has refused all the demands, proposals and resolutions leading to the present outcome. They are the ones who will have to assume the liability, if any."

Halle concluded by stating that UTU membership in Canada is incredibly displeased by the actions of its International leadership. He cited the TCRC's major victory over UTU Canada just last year, when the UTU attempted to raid the former BLE Canada at CP Rail, but the attack completely backfired. A wide majority of UTU membership voted to join the new TCRC rather than stay with the UTU. As a result of the UTU-forced election, the TCRC not only kept 1,700 engineers, but added 2,800 trainmen.

"The UTU news article was issued by very few of their frustrated officers to counteract the legitimate request of their membership in Canada to stop these nonsense attacks," Halle said.



© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen