A message from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa

RLBC: Bargaining Power

When the Teamsters Rail Conference joined with five other rail unions and formed the Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition (RLBC) it sent a loud, clear message to the carriers. We are strong and united, much to the carriers' chagrin. They would prefer to cut deals with individual unions and let the others follow suit - the so-called 'pattern' agreements of years past. But, our rail conference and the representatives of the other rail crafts in the coalition are determined to change the course of negotiating.

Many people believe that rail carriers are very profitable. Recently the Wall Street Journal published an article articulating the growth in rail freight demand, and the glowing prospects for more of the same. On the subject of rail stock pricing, an analyst quoted in the Journal article noted, "I don't see anything to slow it in the near term." The article also noted that Union Pacific continues to hire thousands of crew members, purchase locomotives and overhaul its rail network due to the increase in rail traffic.

When we started the negotiations, we were well aware of the disparity between the huge profits earned by rail carriers and the wages of rail employees. Our negotiations plan to correct this imbalance.

No Recess for Congress

We aren't going to let Congress have a quiet recess this summer. With Amtrak funding still undecided, the livelihoods of our members remains in jeopardy. Our rail conference has been doing its share for an aggressive lobbying effort.

In April and May, groups of BLET and BMWED members visited Congressional offices to discuss the necessity of Amtrak, its vital function and economic impact on our nation's states if it were dissolved. Many Congressmen learned more about Amtrak from our first-hand contact. But, you can do more. During the next month contact your senator or representative at their home office and let them know how important Amtrak is to you and your union brothers and sisters. We have to keep Congress' feet to the fire on Amtrak funding. Let's show Congress how united we can be!

Stay Strong,


Jim Hoffa

General President


© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen