BLE Constitution & Bylaws will govern process

Following the February 27 announcement that the BLE Advisory Board had unanimously voted to explore mutually beneficial relations with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Section 1(e) of the BLE Constitution & Bylaws will come into play and govern the proposed merger/affiliation process.

In September, delegates attending the BLE's Seventh Quinquennial International Convention in Miami made significant changes to Section 1(e), based on what they perceived to be a weakness, which allowed for "fast track" mergers.

The revised Section 1(e) establishes specific timelines and balloting procedures to correct the problem.

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

As amended by delegates at the Miami convention, the entirety of Section 1(e) of the BLE Constitution & Bylaws is presented below:

 

"(e) If the Advisory Board, by a two-thirds majority vote, believes it is in the best interest of the membership to merge or affiliate with another labor organization, or to form a new labor organization, the following procedure shall apply:

"(e)(1) The International President shall expeditiously prepare a unification agreement and a constitution, if necessary, governing the merged or new labor organization.

"(e)(2) Upon completion and printing of the unification agreement and the constitution that will govern, and having secured the approval of the documents by a two-thirds majority of the Advisory Board, the International President shall mail a copy of both documents to all divisions, general chairmen, state and provincial legislative board chairmen and members of the Advisory Board, and he also shall cause same to be posted on the BLE's web site. The date of mailing will be referred to in this section as 'mailing date.'

"(e)(3) Within forty-five (45) days of the mailing date, divisions, general chairmen, state and provincial legislative board chairmen and members of the Advisory Board may submit written questions to the International President for the purpose of seeking agreed upon clarifications and/or interpretations of the proposed governing documents.

"(e)(4) Sixty (60) days after the mailing date, the International President shall mail to all divisions, general chairmen, state and provincial legislative board chairmen and members of the Advisory Board the agreed upon answers to questions submitted pursuant to paragraph (e)(3). This mailing shall also include a notice, advising that proponents and opponents of the proposal have the right to distribute advocacy documents and/or partisan materials to the membership, at their own expense. Both the agreed upon answers and the notice also will be posted on the BLE's web site. Any member or group of members, desiring to exercise the right to distribute such materials shall inform the International President of this desire, in writing, within 10 days of the date of the notice. The International President will provide prompt authorization to the BLE's commercial mailing service for the use of membership mailing data on behalf of those who have submitted written notice of their desire to make such distribution.

"(e)(5) No later than seventy-five (75) days after the mailing date, a written request may be made, by both Canadian Vice Presidents and a majority of the Canadian General Chairmen and Provincial Legislative Board Chairmen, that the Canadian active membership be entitled to a separate vote on the merger or affiliation proposal. A majority of the valid ballots cast by U.S. active members approving the merger or affiliation and a majority of valid ballots cast by Canadian active members disapproving the merger or affiliation shall result in the disaffiliation of the Canadian BLE. If a separate vote is conducted pursuant to the provisions of this paragraph, the ballot instructions for Canadian members will plainly state, in both English and French, that disaffiliation will result in the event of a Canadian rejection, even though the U.S. members may accept the merger or affiliation proposal.

"(e)(6) Ninety (90) days after the mailing date, the International President will oversee the mailing to each active member of the following: the unification agreement; the proposed constitution; a synopsis of the aforementioned documents; the agreed upon answers to questions submitted pursuant to paragraph (e)(3); a voting instruction sheet; and a ballot and prepaid return mailing materials, if necessary.

"(e)(7) A balloting procedure will be used that: maintains the confidentiality of each voting BLE member; provides that ballots used for each voting group are clearly distinct from one another; and prohibits the release of any partial or running vote tabulations concerning the BLE to any party prior to the election deadline.

"(e)(8) In order to be deemed timely, all ballots must be returned to and received by the designated mailing address no later than 135 days after the mailing date. Counting of ballots will be observed by the elected members of the Board of Appeals."

 

2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers