NMB-appointed panel denies UTU application

The National Mediation Board (NMB) announced on February 29 that the panel appointed in early January has found in favor of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) on the question of establishing a single craft of "Train and Engine Service Employees."

UTU filed an application seeking the establishment of the new craft and requesting a representation election on the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) on January 12, 1998. A hearing on the application was conducted by the NMB last July. The deadline for the February 29 ruling was set in an NMB decision issued on December 30th of last year.

BLE International President Edward Dubroski issued the following statement upon learning of the NMB announcement:

"I am both relieved and pleased that the panel saw through the UTU's smoke and mirrors. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the team that put together an overwhelming case and made this victory possible: General Counsel Harold Ross; Special Counsel George Cohen and his people; our International Division staff; the Union Pacific general chairmen; and Brother Mike Russell of Division 81, our most powerful witness. I also wish to thank the AFL-CIO for all the support they've given the BLE and for standing behind us throughout our struggle. But, most of all, we owe this victory to those Brothers and Sisters who stood by us and never gave up on the BLE during our many dark days over the past two years, especially those who made sacrifice to travel to Washington last July and march in support of the BLE in 100+ degree heat.

"Although this is a great victory, we still face a tough challenge ahead. In raising UTU dues $3.00 per month to create his 'war chest' for a 'fight to the finish' with the BLE, UTU President Little vowed that we will next face an A-card assault. The leadership of the UTU will go down in labor history wearing the mark of shame for serving as facilitator for the railroad industry's agenda and, with the help of our Brothers, Sisters and friends in the rest of the American labor movement, we will ultimately prevail in this struggle."

On March 3, the BLE declared "enough is enough" in asking the NMB to dismiss UTU's "motion for reconsideration" in the case.

BLE cited section 17.0 of the National Mediation Board's Representation Manual, which expressly states "Reconsideration may not be sought from the Board's certification or dismissal." In its February 29 adoption of the three-member arbitration panel's ruling, NMB Chief of Staff Stephen E. Crable clearly dismissed the UTU application when he wrote, "File No. CR-6624 is converted to Case No. R-6735 and the Board hereby dismisses the application."

In addition, BLE contends that the NMB gave up jurisdictional right to reconsider the UTU application when referring it to the three-member arbitration panel for decision. "In these circumstances, given that the NMB has ceded in full its statutory authority to the Panel to resolve the dispute by decision and order, the NMB no longer has jurisdiction to review in any manner - including 'reconsideration' - the substance of the Panel's resolution," the BLE statement said. The BLE backed-up this contention by citing several sources, including a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The NMB had yet to render a decision at press time. The panel's February 29 decision can be found on the BLE web site at:; and

2000 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers