What has your union done for you lately?

When the National Mediation Board denied the UTU's application to combine railroad operating crafts and hold a representation election on the Union Pacific, it put into perspective the major fundamental differences between the BLE and UTU.

Securing job improvements and protections for its members is a priority for the BLE. It's what we do. And it's a fundamental difference between our organization and the UTU.

The UTU has its priorities elsewhere. Documented proof of this can be found in the February 24 issue of the Omaha World-Herald. In an article titled, "U.S. railroads, unions start contract talks," UTU International Spokesman David Eden said, "Right now, more than contract negotiations, (the UTU) is getting prepared for what (it) says may be an historic decision by the National Mediation Board."

The key phrase is "more than contract negotiations." That statement provides a crystal-clear picture of the fundamental difference between the BLE and UTU leadership.

"More than contract negotiations:" in other words, the UTU would rather spend its time running around trying to destroy the BLE than securing a good contract for its members.

Moreover, the UTU spokesman said, "It doesn't benefit a rail union to strike." Really? How about asking the 8,000 members of a rail labor union who just went on strike in Laramie, Wyo., and saved their jobs at Union Pacific.

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes just concluded a successful strike at UP (see page 9 article). A federal judge sent the strikers back to work, but he also issued a permanent injunction prohibiting UP from closing down a manufacturing plant that employed 37 BMWE members.

The strike saved their jobs. But according to the UTU, "It doesn't benefit a rail union to strike." Maybe what the spokesman meant to say was, "It doesn't benefit the railroad company for a railroad union to strike." Either way, going on strike produced a major benefit for those 37 members of the BMWE.

We encourage all BLE members to share this article with their UTU co-workers. Tell them to ask Charles Little and Byron Boyd, "What have you done for me lately?" Their answer: "We've earned the unanimous condemnation of the AFL-CIO for pursuing a case that got worse with each passing month, we've left the AFL-CIO in shame, we've agreed to make cram down mandatory, we're facilitating the use of remote control technology at the state level, and we finally figured out how to say 'No' to a proposed merger, even though the protections are better than any offered in over 20 years."

Now ask the leadership of the BLE the same question. Their answer: "We've preserved the historical operating crafts on America's Class I railroads, won an end to cram down, attrition job protection and 10 years of job security for our members on BNSF and CN if the two companies merge, scored a major victory for post-85 engineers on Norfolk Southern, and helped engineers on NS get a 14.4 percent raise."

Not too bad. That's something you can take to the bank, unlike the empty promises UTU leaders spent two years working on to provide to their members.

2000 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers