Huron & Eastern workers vote BLET

Approximately 30 operating employees at the Huron & Eastern Railroad, a subsidiary of RailAmerica, selected the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen as their designated collective bargaining representative on May 11.

It is the third organizing victory for the BLET thus far in 2006.

"I appreciate all the help I received from the workers at the Huron & Eastern, and I welcome them into our organization," said BLET Organizing Director Tommy Miller.

The BLET organized the Panhandle Northern (PNR) on January 20 and the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MMA) on April 19. The victories are part of an aggressive organizing campaign launched by the BLET and the Teamsters Rail Conference.

"Our goal is aggressive organizing on short line railroads in 2006," Miller said. "We will target different companies."

A different company owns each short line organized by the BLET this year: RailAmerica owns the Huron & Eastern; OmniTRAX owns the PNR; and Rail World, Inc., owns the MMA.

The three organizing victories have brought more than 100 new members into the BLET.

There was a great deal of interest in joining the BLET among the Huron & Eastern workers.

"Large groups of members attended our organizing meetings," Miller said. "I thank Special Representative Gene Imler for his assistance in making those meetings a success."

RailAmerica is one of the largest short line owners in the United States. It operates 42 railroads that service approximately 7,800 miles of track.

"I congratulate Tommy Miller for his continued success in organizing," said BLET National President Don Hahs. "The Brotherhood welcomes our new Huron & Eastern members, who are anticipating their first contract.

"As a member of the Change to Win coalition, we believe that unions must devote more time, energy and resources to organizing. The BLET has done just that and I am proud of our third organizing victory this year."

RailAmerica's first rail acquisition was the Huron & Eastern in 1986. The short line, headquartered in Vassar, Mich., operates 174 miles of track. It interchanges with CSX in Saginaw, Mich., the Lake State Railway in Bay City, Mich., the Canadian National Railway in Durand, Mich., and the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railway in Durand, Mich. It services massive grain elevators about every 20 miles and its major customers are Pioneer Sugar and Sebewaing industries.



© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen