Passenger Rail News Briefs

Judge blocks BLET strike threat at LIRR

A federal magistrate sided with the Long Island Rail Road on March 8 in its dispute with locomotive engineers who had threatened to strike over the railroad's use of nonunion labor to move trains in a maintenance yard.

Magistrate Robert M. Levy recommended that U.S. District Judge Allyne Ross grant an injunction that would prevent a job action, and that she deny a request by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen that the railroad be stopped from using nonunion labor.

"Sadly, what the court has allowed them to do is whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it," BLET General Chairman Bob Evers said. He added that the issue will likely go to arbitration.

The union has contended the railroad violated its contract by agreeing to allow employees of Bombardier, the Canadian M7 train manufacturer, to move trains for the warranty work at the Arch Street shop in Long Island City, which is under lease to Bombardier.

The attorney for the engineers had argued in court that it was a major dispute, which would not allow the railroad to alter its practices. As such, the attorney said, the railroad should immediately return to the "status quo," meaning union engineers should be the ones to move trains and the act does not permit the LIRR to violate the status quo.

(From New York's Newsday)



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