New GCofA structure now in place on Union Pacific
Earlier this year, BLE members working for North America's largest railroad voted to change their General Committee structure to reflect the impact of recent mergers involving the Union Pacific Railroad. The new structure is now in place, and general committee officers have been elected.
Union Pacific gained its titanic status through various mergers and acquisitions over the past few years, most notably the 1995 take-over of Chicago & NorthWestern and the 1997 acquisition of Southern Pacific. Prior to UP's merger mania, BLE members on UP's predecessors were represented by 11 separate general committees of adjustment.
The resulting GCofA structure was cumbersome and not cost effective. In approving the various UP mergers, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board used its "cram down" policy to force consolidation of various seniority districts and the elimination of a number of collective bargaining agreements. This "cram down" resulted in overlapping jurisdiction for several general committees.
In a December 30, 1999, letter to all BLE members on the UP, International President Dubroski proposed a modification to improve the UP general committee structure. The President's proposed changes were approved by an overwhelming 82.54 percent of the rank-and-file UP members.
"While no one likes change - it creates much pain - we simply have to restructure our general committees for reasons of economy, efficiency, sound business principles and effective representation," the BLE President wrote.
"The maintenance of 11 separate committees, or even more as some suggest, is too costly and would require increases in dues or even debt. Furthermore, the committees must be formed in a fashion that can provide strong, adequate and unsplintered representation for all members within their geographic jurisdiction.
"Only through... change... could we be reasonably assured of a financially stable, healthy organization on Union Pacific that will meet the present and future needs of you, the members, in negotiating agreements and enforcing them."
The new structure consists of six different general committees of adjustment. The general chairmen who lead these six restructured committees are as follows:
Brother Gore is the only newly-elected general chairman. The other five were incumbents from former GCofAs.
The six restructured GCofAs were formed from the following:
Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway, the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, the Southern Pacific Transportation Co. (Eastern Lines), the Southern Pacific Transportation Co. (Former PE Lines), the Southern Pacific Transportation Co. (Western Lines), the SPCSL, Union Pacific Southern Region, UP Eastern Region, UP Central Region, UP Western Region, and the former Chicago & North Western Transportation Co.
© 2000 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers