Teamsters, TTD ask NMB to dismiss UTU application

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department (TTD) filed a joint submission requesting that the National Mediation Board (NMB) dismiss the United Transportation Union's (UTU) efforts to create a combined craft of "train and engine service employees" on the Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS).

"The IBT has a direct and substantial interest in this case stemming from its on-going representation of railroad and airline employees throughout the United States," the May 28 IBT-TTD submission says.

The Teamsters and the TTD argue that engineers and conductors represent functionally distinct crafts or classes of employees at KCS, and that the two groups do not share a substantial community of interest sufficient to justify a single craft.

"Rather than possessing a community of interest, engineers and trainmen diverge on a myriad of issues," the IBT-TTD brief states.

The Teamsters and the TTD argue that the BLE's rejection of a merger with the UTU helps prove that the two groups do not share a community of interest.

"Notwithstanding their other interests in the outcome of this matter, (IBT and TTD) would still be compelled to object to the UTU's unabashed attempt to force its representation upon the nation's locomotive engineers through an improper use of the Board's procedures, when the engineers themselves have affirmatively rejected the UTU through their own democratic processes.

"Jilted by its rejection, the UTU would now have the Board abrogate the century-old division among the operating crafts on Class I rail carriers, a division that has been upheld by the NMB for nearly 70 years and do so despite no legal or factual basis for the assertion that a consolidated craft or class of Train and Engine Service Employees exists on the properties of Kansas City Southern or, for that matter, any Class I carrier.

"The UTU's request for the Board to make this radical departure from the well-established, historic craft division between engine service and train service employees is without merit and should, therefore, be dismissed."

The IBT-TTD brief argues that forcing a single craft would be detrimental to the rail industry, creating a labor organization plagued by constant internal conflict and increasing the potential for operational disruptions on the nation's railroads. The IBT-TTD brief stated that the single craft issue has already "become disruptive on the KCS property to the point of interfering with operations," which railroad attorneys documented in letters dated April 4 and 23, 2002.

"As the NMB's statutory responsibility is to promote stable collective bargaining, it is unclear how a consolidated craft or class of Train and Engine Service Employees on a Class I carrier with its inherent potential for severe internal conflict would be in furtherance of that responsibility."

The IBT-TTD submission concludes, "In light of the fact that engineers and trainmen comprise functionally distinct crafts or classes of employees on the KCS, these employees cannot be found to possess a substantial community of interest sufficient to justify a forced departure from the present craft or class alignment on the Carrier. For the reasons stated above and in the interests of promoting stable collective bargaining relationships throughout the railroad industry, the Board should dismiss the UTU application."

A copy of the nine-page IBT-TTD amicus brief is available on the BLE website.

 

© 2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers