Hoffa rails against single-person trains

Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa pledges to support the BLET in its battle against one-person train crews during his speech to delegates.

A rousing speech by Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa received several standing ovations during the BLET's First Quadrennial Convention in Las Vegas.

General President Hoffa addressed more than 500 BLET delegates regarding a variety of topics, including the BLET's organizing success, the Rail Conference's agenda to improve national rail security, Amtrak funding, and the threat of single-person train operations.

President Hoffa pledged to help BLET in its fight to protect railroad jobs during the BLET's current round of contract negotiations with the National Carriers Conference Committee.

"One of the biggest challenges we face is one man crews," he said. "We must take a stand - no one man crews!"

President Hoffa praised BLET leaders for their success in organizing short line railroads.

"I'm proud of the BLET for its organizing successes," said Hoffa, who mentioned recent BLET organizing victories at the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, Panhandle Northern and the Huron & Eastern short lines.

Hoffa noted that increased organizing is a goal of the new Change to Win Coalition, and thanked the BLET for helping the IBT work toward that goal.

"You are growing and we are growing," he said. "More members means more power."

Hoffa was critical of the Bush administration and its stance on Amtrak funding and rail security funding.

"President Bush needs to get off Air Force One and ride Amtrak," he said.

Also, Hoffa criticized the current administration for failing to provide adequate funding for railroad security training, which is a key element to improving overall railroad security.

"There's a huge disparity between airline and rail security funding," Hoffa said. "Where is the funding for security training for our members?"



© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen