Procedures set for remote control arbitration

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers announced on June 25 that it has negotiated a set of procedures to be followed in upcoming arbitration hearings, which will determine whether Locomotive Engineers or trainmen have the right to operate remote control technology.

The tripartite arbitration decision - between the BLE, United Transportation Union and six railroad companies (BNSF, Conrail, CSX, KCS, NS and UP) - was reached after months of negotiations. The UTU is a party to the hearing because its collective bargaining agreements, as well as BLE's, are involved in the dispute. UTU was also a part of the January court ruling issued by the U.S. District Court in Chicago.

"The BLE is going to work hard and fight aggressively to keep Locomotive Engineers from losing their jobs," BLE International President Don M. Hahs said.

The three parties could not agree on a single question to pose to the arbitrators, so each party submitted its own question. The merits arbitration panel will render a decision on the questions posed on page 6 of the arbitration agreement.

The BLE question states, "The assignment of other than locomotive engineers to operate locomotives via remote control in connection with the movement of cars, trains and/or engines in terminal operations is a violation of the exclusive rights of locomotive engineers to perform such service pursuant to existing BLE Agreements and established practice."

Due to the timelines established in the agreement, it is expected that the dispute will be resolved around the end of the year.

A copy of the six-page arbitration agreement is available on the BLE website.


© 2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers