BMWE merges with Teamsters

More than 40 percent of Rail Labor now belongs to IBT Rail Conference

In a historic vote, members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE) approved a merger with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The BMWE is the second major railroad union to merge with the Teamsters this year. An overwhelming 76 percent of BMWE members approved the merger in the ballots tallied on October 27.

"This is an extraordinary moment in the history of the labor movement," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "As did my father, I have envisioned one union representing all transportation workers - roads to rails, ports to planes - that would provide workers with real power on the job and in the political arena. This historic merger brings us closer to our vision of that seamless transportation union."

Freddie Simpson, the President of the BMWE, will become President of the BMWE Division of the Teamsters Rail Conference.

"We are proud and excited to be part of the Teamsters Rail Conference," Simpson said. "With over 42 percent of union members in the rail industry now united under the Teamsters banner, the rail corporations are going to be in for a tough fight at the bargaining table. This merger is going to end rail corporations' 'business-as-usual' approach to contract negotiations. With both the BMWE and the BLET together as autonomous divisions of the Teamsters Rail Conference, rail workers will have greater power at the workplace, in Congress and in negotiations."

The BMWE now joins the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen as a member of the Teamsters' Rail Conference. The BLET became the founding member of the Rail Conference when it merged with IBT on Jan. 1, 2004.

"On behalf of the 55,000 members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, I welcome our Brothers and Sisters of the BMWE into the Rail Conference," BLET National President Don Hahs said. "I look forward to working together with the BMWE and IBT in a successful partnership."

With the addition of the BMWE, the Teamsters Rail Conference now represents more than 40 percent of rail labor.

"I'm ecstatic about the possibilities for the future with the BLET and BMWE in the same house," BMWE President Simpson said. "The possibilities are limitless."



© 2004 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen