BLE allows newly-promoted engineers continued participation in Blue Cross/Blue Shield option

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) has acted to protect newly-promoted engineers who are enrolled in the UTU's Blue Cross/Blue Shield health care option, BLE International President Edward Dubroski announced on October 10.

"Our goal is to do what's right for all railroad workers," President Dubroski said. "We are glad to give the UTU permission for these engineers to continue to participate in the UTU's Blue Cross/Blue Shield program."

Last year, the UTU broke ranks with the Cooperating Railway Labor Organizations (CRLO) -- Rail Labor's health and welfare bargaining coalition -- and established its own, separate national health and welfare plan, which included a Blue Cross/Blue Shield option. The other CRLO unions, including the BLE, opted to pursue a global settlement of their Section 6 health and welfare notices, rather than make a standby agreement covering just a portion of the dispute.

The UTU's unilateral move created a problem for more than 350 conductors, who selected the Blue Cross/Blue Shield option, and who were promoted to locomotive engineer during the past year. Without this action on the BLE's part, these engineers and their families would have been forced to choose alternative coverage, most likely disrupting established relationships with the physicians of their choice.

"We would have preferred not to handle this issue on a piecemeal basis," said Dubroski. "However, when the UTU went its own way, these Brothers and Sisters were placed at risk, which we addressed today."


2000 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers