BLE responds to UTU raid at CP Rail

Leadership of BLE Canada strongly condemned an attempted raid of its Canadian Pacific membership by the United Transportation Union, while an elected BLE officer has been relieved of his duties for assisting the UTU raid.

On July 8, BLE International President Don Hahs appointed George Hucker, BLE International Vice-President & National Legislative Representative-Canada, as temporary trustee of the BLE's CP Rail (East) General Committee of Adjustment. Special Representative R.J. Toole was also appointed administrative assistant to Vice President Hucker.

In a letter dated July 8, President Hahs invoked his authority under Section 16 of the BLE Constitution & Bylaws and placed the CP Rail GCofA under trusteeship.

In his letter, President Hahs told the officer in question that: "Specifically, you have violated your duty by using your BLE title and office to promote the election of the United Transportation Union (UTU) to replace the BLE as collective bargaining representative for Canadian Pacific engineers and may have expended BLE funds to further that campaign.

"You are hereby directed to relinquish to Brother Hucker and Brother Toole possession and control of all the funds, books, papers and other properties of the general committee."

On July 4, UTU representatives approached BLE members at their work terminals and invited them to sign applications in order to join the UTU.

In a letter to Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), BLE Canadian Director Gilles Hallé said that the UTU's actions violate the "no raiding" provisions of the CLC Constitution. He also requested that Georgetti immediately appoint a neutral umpire to investigate the UTU's actions.

In the United States, the UTU was found guilty of violating the "no-raiding" clause of the AFL-CIO constitution on numerous occasions. In fact, UTU withdrew from the AFL-CIO several years ago to avoid financial penalties for its constant raiding of BLE.

A joint letter from Canadian Director Halle and Vice-President Hucker accuses the UTU of timing its raiding campaign in an attempt to derail the proposed merger of the BLE and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

"(T)he UTU recognizes the powerful stranglehold on surface transportation that could result with a BLE-Teamster merger," the letter states. "The size of the membership, the resources and money behind such a merger, if it were to take place, would in itself be a huge threat to the negotiating abilities and long-term survival of the UTU."

Brothers Hallé and Hucker also said the raid will have long-term, negative consequences on the workers and has damaged each union's ability to negotiate with the carriers.

"The UTU, by these actions, has done what the company has been attempting to achieve for countless years - divide and conquer."



© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers