A message from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa

Securing a better contract

In the upcoming weeks many BLET members will have the opportunity to vote on the tentative agreement recently reached between the Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition and the carriers. With over 20,000 members affected by a new agreement, this decision is an important one. And I have every confidence that Don Hahs, Bill Walpert, Ed Rodzwicz and all other officers who were part of the negotiations did a thorough job of negotiating a worthwhile agreement.

It is my understanding that the proposed agreement, which covers many employees of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, CSX, Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern, is largely improved over the old contract. Of central importance was winning out over the carriers' demands and having the withdrawal of all work rules as part of this new agreement. The carriers, certainly used to having the backing of a Republican Congress, initially proposed more consolidation of staffing along with other anti-union work rules. I am proud to say that your negotiators did a fine job of holding the employers' feet to the fire and winning.

Having much of rail labor united in the bargaining under the Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition (RLBC) gave us some power that had been lacking in previous years. And, I believe that having your inclusion in the Teamsters Rail Conference also made a positive difference.

As we continue to organize rail employees currently in non-union properties, we will be able to proudly show them the benefits attained in this new contract. I encourage all of you who are eligible to vote on the RLBC/NCCC agreement to vote in favor of it.

This tentative agreement is the work of many months, weeks and hours by dedicated union officers, negotiators and staff. We were proud to support your negotiating team and we will continue to support all of you in the years to come.


James P. Hoffa

General President



© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen