BLE scores Indiana & Ohio organizing victory
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers took a huge leap forward in organizing the vast shortline industry on August 3 as workers on the Indiana & Ohio Railroad, a subsidiary of shortline giant RailAmerica, selected the BLE as their collective bargaining representative.
The votes were tabulated on August 3 in Washington D.C., and an overwhelming majority of the 49 Indiana & Ohio workers selected the BLE in the National Mediation Board-sanctioned representation election.
BLE representatives were invited on the property by I&O workers, who sought relief from management harassment and intimidation. The workers also sought a formal channel to redress their grievances with management.
BLE International President Edward Dubroski congratulated all BLE Special Representatives for their fine work in the field.
The Indiana & Ohio is a 492-mile shortline, which runs from Flat Rock, Mich., to Cincinnati, Ohio, hauling mostly soda ash, limestone, automobiles, trucks, lumber, chemicals and various industrial products. It is one of 39 shortline railroads owned by RailAmerica, the world's largest shortline railroad operator. RailAmerica owns nearly 11,000 miles of track in four countries on three continents.
"The potential for thousands of new union members exists in the shortline industry," said BLE International President Edward Dubroski.
"We have tapped a source of tremendous growth. I extend congratulations to the brave I&O workers who were able to see through management's misinformation and make the right choice. These workers, many with families to support, put their livelihoods on the line for the sake of union representation. I am pleased to announce they made the brave choice, and the right choice."
The BLE's support of the shortline industry is apparent. In May, the BLE (along with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes and the United Transportation Union) agreed to support legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, known as the Railroad Track Modernization Act of 2001. The bill, H.R. 1020, would provide $350 million annually in federal subsidies for each of the next three years to help rehabilitate Class II and Class III railroad infrastructures.
© 2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers