Teamsters, BLE meet again

Members of the BLE's Executive Committee will meet with members of the Teamsters General Executive Board in early April to discuss the proposed merger or affiliation of the two unions.

As this issue of the Newsletter went to press, BLE Internaitonal President Don M. Hahs had assigned First Vice-President & Alternate President Ed Rodzwicz and General Secretary-Treasurer William C. Walpert to attend meetings at Teamster headquarters in Washington D.C., on April 3, 4 and 5.

The purpose of the meetings will be to expand on the groundwork created at a March 6 meeting between BLE President Hahs and Teamster President James P. Hoffa. At that meeting, the two presidents agreed on a basic structure to govern the discussions.

The BLE will establish a series of committees based on geographical regions, which will reflect the regional structure of the Teamsters. The BLE committees will be made up of a General Chairman from each region, a state legislative board chairman from each region, and representatives of passenger engineers.

Both presidents also agreed that any agreement regarding merger or affiliation should have an escape clause for each organization.

The BLE Advisory Board voted unanimously to begin exploratory talks with the Teamsters regarding a merger or affiliation on February 26. The proposed action would give the BLE membership in the largest union in the AFL-CIO, and the largest transportation union in North America.

"Our two unions serve a common purpose of transporting goods from manufacturers to consumers," Hoffa said in the upcoming Spring 2002 issue of the Locomotive Engineers Journal. "By joining together, we will create a seamless transportation union under the umbrella of the AFL-CIO. That means that employers will no longer be able to pursue their divide-and-conquer strategy to weaken transportation labor.

"The Teamsters Union has considerable experience in this area. In recent years, we have formed partnerships with the International Longshoremen's Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, both AFL-CIO affiliates, to help bring the power of union representation to port workers across North America.

"The three unions agreed to respect each other's traditional jurisdictions, eliminate any competition at ports, and coordinate their efforts to organize non-union workers. That's how solidarity works," Hoffa said.

Details of the April 3-5 meetings will be available on the BLE website and the next issue of the Newsletter.

At a recent meeting between BLE and Teamsters officials, from left: BLE International President Don M. Hahs; Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa; BLE First Vice-President & Alternate President Ed Rodzwicz; and Vice-President & U.S. National Legislative Representative Raymond Holmes.



2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers