BLE picketing targets BNSF execs, shareholders

Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers protested the implementation of remote control locomotives at a meeting of Burlington Northern Santa Fe's shareholders in Fort Worth, Texas.

The informational picketing on April 17 focused on the use of remote control locomotives by train crew members who are not federally licensed or certified as locomotive engineers.

"We think it's a safety issue," BLE General Chairman Dennis Pierce told the Fort Worth Star Telegram. "Our jobs are at stake."

Also participating in the informational picketing were BNSF General Chairmen John Mullen and Rick Gibbons; Vice Chairmen Matt Wilson, Steve Bratka and Don May (BNSF North Lines); Terry Briggs, Chairman of the Texas State Legislative Board; Mark E. Banton, Local Chairman of Division 500; and George Smith, Secretary-Treasurer of Division 500. Members of the American Train Dispatchers Department of the BLE also participated in the informational picketing.

BNSF chairman Matt Rose told the newspaper that BNSF plans to take delivery of 30 new remote control units throughout the year, to be used at various switching and classification yards on its 29-state system.

Rose also told the newspaper that the issue of using employees other than members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers to operate the remote controls was a "productivity matter" (see related article in this issue).

General Chairman Pierce advised the Star-Telegram reporter that he has informed BNSF management that the use of federally licensed locomotive engineers in the implementation of remote control operations would be the safest and most productive method of operation. However, railroad management has refused to negotiate with BLE on the issue.



© 2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers