Sweeney to Boyd: 'Reaffiliation jeopardized'

AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney warned that current United Transportation Union raiding practices will seriously jeopardize the organization's chances of future reaffiliation with the House of Labor.

In a recent interview with BNA's Daily Labor Report (DLR), UTU President Byron Boyd suggested that the UTU would reaffiliate with the AFL-CIO "once the UTU prevails" in its single-craft effort before the National Mediation Board.

However, in a March 22 letter to Boyd, President Sweeney set the record straight.

"The UTU's continued effort before the National Mediation Board to overturn established craft and class distinctions in the rail industry remains a violation of the constitution and bylaws of the AFL-CIO," Sweeney wrote. "While we remain open to the reaffiliation of your national union, such a reaffiliation continues to be jeopardized by this constitution violation.

"Should the UTU prevail in changing long-established craft and class rules, it would most certainly not clear the way for the UTU's return to the Federation, as you are quoted as suggesting in the DLR interview. To the contrary, it would remove any such possibility of future reaffiliation, as long as this matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of our affiliate, the BLE."

Sweeney condemned the UTU raid and promised to aggressively defend the BLE, while at the same time expressing his willingness to seek a mutually acceptable resolution to the current situation, "But neither the AFL-CIO, nor our affiliated national unions, will stand by while your organization attempts to destroy another national labor organization," Sweeney said.

He reminded the UTU President that the AFL-CIO's Executive Council recently adopted a resolution "expressing strong support for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers in this dispute and authorizing the Federation to take all possible steps to support our affiliate in this matter."

Sweeney also expressed regret that Boyd had canceled a meeting scheduled for March 12 between Sweeney, Boyd, and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka. "I remain willing to meet with you and discuss any issues that you believe need to be addressed," he wrote. "I reaffirm my suggestion that this matter be discussed face to face."

A copy of Sweeney's letter is available on the BLE website in PDF format:



2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers