Survey results back IBT
Wide majority of BLE members support affiliation with Teamsters
If an election were held today, more than three quarters of BLE members would vote to support an affiliation with the Teamsters Union, according to results from both a direct membership survey of BLE members and a scientific telephone poll.
In the telephone poll conducted in January 2003, 78% of BLE members say they would vote to approve a merger with the Teamsters Union, compared to only 21% who said they would oppose it. The telephone poll, conducted of 400 randomly selected BLE members out of more than 1,000 phone calls placed, is accurate to +/- 4.9%.
One-third of the BLE members, approximately 11,000, returned mail surveys during February and March 2003. The mail surveys indicated support for the Teamster affiliation equivalent to the scientific poll.
Nearly 77% of BLE members returning mail surveys said they thought the Teamsters and the BLE were a "good match," and 78% said they were comfortable with "the prospect of a merger of the BLE and the Teamsters Union."
In both the poll and the survey, BLE members indicated that they saw an affiliation with the Teamsters as generating new strength in collective bargaining, organizing, and political action.
"The poll and member survey conclusively demonstrates that BLE members feel they will benefit by becoming part of a larger and stronger union," BLE International President Don Hahs said. "BLE members are especially supportive of the affiliation because they fell that it will allow them to share in the strength of the Teamsters while maintaining autonomy."
In the poll, 89% of BLE members felt that joining with the 1.4 million-member Teamsters union would give the BLE "added strength at the bargaining table, in the political arena, and in organizing," and felt that these were convincing reasons to affiliate.
BLE members were equally convinced that joining with the largest transportation union would give both the Locomotive Engineers and all transportation workers "more clout at all points in the process of transporting goods, people and services."
In the poll, BLE members had a high 74% positive image rating of the BLE and a 72% positive image of the Teamsters. Moreover, 83% of BLE members have a positive image of their Local Chairman.
Poll and survey results were announced on April 16 at the BLE's Western General Chairman's Association annual meeting, and were presented by LRA Consulting, a New York City based union consulting firm retained by the IBT and BLE to determine member opinions on merger prospects.
Members of the BLE's Advisory Board and the National Association of State Legislative Board Chairmen were in attendance, along with mostly all General Chairmen.
© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers