UTU seeks single-craft raid of BLET membership at UP
'A desperate act by a desperate union,' President Hahs says
The United Transportation Union's petition for a single craft of operating employees at the Union Pacific Railroad is a reckless effort by a desperate union, said BLET National President Don Hahs on June 3.
UTU's May 27 petition asks the NMB to rule that a single craft of operating employees exists on the UP. The petition also asks the NMB to order a representation election for the supposedly new craft of "train and engine service employees."
"This is like 1998 all over again," said President Hahs, referring to UTU's attempt to raid BLET at UP using the same arguments seven years ago. "But we beat them before and we will do it again. This is a desperate act by a desperate union."
The BLET President condemned the UTU leadership for its reckless behavior that can not possibly benefit operating employees.
"The UTU leaders are only concerned with self-preservation of the UTU enterprise, not with representing the best interests of their members," President Hahs said. "This is an act of desperation on behalf of a union slowly reaching the end of its useful existence."
Several negative consequences could be harmful to rank-and-file rail workers if operating crafts are combined and the UTU is allowed to hold a representation election. Does any other Rail Union believe this will be last attempt to combine crafts if the UTU is successful?
"A single operating craft could lead to fewer jobs in the rail industry, and possibly combined extra boards and dovetailed seniority rosters," Hahs said. "The last time I checked, those things were beneficial to rail management, not rail labor."
President Hahs also warned that there are no operating agreements in place for the proposed craft of train and engine service employees.
"The carrier could take the position that all current operating rules and pay scales are out the window because there would no longer be locomotive engineers, conductors and trainmen," Hahs said. "There are no agreements in place for the craft of train and engine service employee."
The May 27 action also makes it clear that the UTU was never sincere about re-affiliation commitments they made to the AFL-CIO.
"The single-craft issue is the very reason UTU withdrew from AFL-CIO five years ago," President Hahs said. "Now that it's back on the table, it sends the message that they were never serious about their bid to re-affiliate.
"One must wonder why any other labor organization would ever consider merging with such a reckless union. On the one hand, their leaders talk about unity and solidarity, but on the other, their actions have done nothing but divide rail labor and place rail craft unions in jeopardy."
© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen