BLE, Teamsters discuss merger or affiliation

Advisory Board unanimously approves exploratory talks; Hahs, Hoffa hold first formal meeting on March 6

BLE President Hahs and Teamster President Hoffa on March 6.


The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers' Advisory Board unanimously approved a motion on February 26 that allows the BLE's Executive Committee to explore a possible merger or affiliation with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, in accordance with Section 1(e) of the BLE Constitution & Bylaws.

The proposed merger or affiliation would give locomotive engineers membership in the largest union in the AFL-CIO and the largest transportation union in North America.

"There is still a long way to go, but this is a first step in the right direction," said BLE International President Don M. Hahs. "We believe this is the best course for our organization and our membership."

Teamsters officials met with members of the BLE Advisory Board during the last week of February at the AFL-CIO's winter meeting in New Orleans. Previously, BLE International President Don M. Hahs and Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa met regarding a possible merger or affiliation.

The two presidents held their first formal meeting on March 6 to schedule dates for future meetings.

"Our two unions serve a common purpose of transporting goods from manufacturers to consumers," Hoffa said. "By joining together, we will create a seamless transportation union. By joining together, we will ensure that all our members maintain power at the national and international levels and aggressive representation at the local level."

"The strength, size and reputation of the Teamsters would give the BLE an added advantage in lobbying efforts and in negotiating contracts," President Hahs said.

"Our ability to support each other across industry lines, throughout the transportation industry, will give all of our members the support they need when negotiating contracts or organizing," Hoffa added.

Section 1(e) of the BLE Constitution & Bylaws governs the process the International Division must follow when considering mergers or affiliations with other labor unions.

"BLE members will be kept fully informed as this process unfolds," President Hahs said. "We will strictly adhere to Section 1(e) of the Constitution."

Both the BLE and the Teamsters Union are strong, democratic institutions structured to empower the membership. The Teamsters are known for strong local unions and strong local leaders. While enjoying their independence, Teamster locals benefit from the expertise and assistance of their International.

Founded May 8, 1863, the BLE is the oldest labor union in North America, representing 59,000 professional locomotive engineers, conductors, trainmen, train dispatchers, and other rail workers in the U.S. and Canada.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States and Canada.



2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers