Statement by AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney on UTU disaffiliation

WASHINGTON, March 17 -- We are extremely disappointed with the decision of the leadership of the United Transportation Union to disaffiliate from the national AFL-CIO. Their decision will prevent the 60,000 UTU members from having the support and solidarity of their 13 million union brothers and sisters.

The leadership of this union has attempted to destroy another AFL-CIO union's bargaining rights at Union Pacific and take away members from that union -- a direct violation of the AFL-CIO constitution. They have had every opportunity to abide by the decisions of the AFL-CIO arbitrators who, according to our constitution, resolve differences on membership issues among unions. The UTU's leadership petition was also dismissed by the National Mediation Board (NMB).

The leadership of UTU has forced its members to leave the AFL-CIO on another instance - they disaffiliated in 1986 and reaffiliated in 1989.

The unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO are committed to abiding by our constitution - a constitution which grows out of a democratic process. The AFL-CIO adamantly defends the integrity of each affiliate against such "raiding" by other AFL-CIO unions.

We urge the leadership of the UTU to reconsider this decision. Working men and women nationwide clearly have a stronger voice when they are united.

In the meanwhile, all UTU locals will be prohibited from participating in any state federation or local labor council.


A copy of Sweeney's statement is available in PDF format at:


© 2000 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers