CIRB conducts hearing on CP Rail representation election

The Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) held hearings in Toronto on October 15 regarding a request to hold a representation election for running trades employees at Canadian Pacific Railway.

A formal decision has not been released pending the outcome of a number of outstanding issues. However, the Board indicated that it might rule in favor of an election that would force employees to choose between the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the United Transportation Union.

According to George Hucker, BLE International Vice-President and National Legislative Representative-Canada, the UTU's action to force a representation election is nothing less than a raid of BLE's membership. He said it was also an attempt to derail the proposed merger of the BLE with the Teamsters.

"The UTU has even said that the whole raid had more to do with the BLE/Teamsters merger than their wish to provide better representation to the membership," Hucker said.

At the October 15 hearing, Brother Hucker and Legal Counsel Jim Shields represented BLE. A total of 10 individuals represented UTU, "all on full wages and expenses," Brother Hucker said.

"I believe the Board should not order a vote, but if it does, then it should first ask the membership at CP Rail if they want to maintain the CCROU," BLE Canadian Director Gilles Halle said. "This is driven by the leadership of the UTU - their membership is against it."

As part of the hearing, the UTU legal counsel submitted to the CIRB Chairman that the UTU was, in effect, raiding itself because UTU claimed to represent more than 50 percent of CPR's membership. However, the UTU legal counsel later conceded that "their membership cards were quite stale and dated," Brother Hucker said.

Also participating in the hearing were two interveners - Dale Dutchak, a conductor from Moose Jaw, and Dave Hughes, a locomotive engineer from London.

"Interestingly, Brother Dutchak submitted that he did not want the UTU to represent him and wanted the freedom of choice that the UTU would not provide him," Brother Hucker said. "He further submitted that the application of the UTU did not represent the wishes of the membership, and that the membership wanted the UTU to drop the foolishness of the raid on the BLE and get the CCROU back to the bargaining table."

In mid September, Brother Hucker, BLE Canadian Director Halle, and 17 Canadian General Chairmen and Provincial Legislative Board Chairmen signed a resolution supporting a merger with Teamsters Canada. A merger would give locomotive engineers membership in the largest and most powerful transportation union in North America.



© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers