BLET Advisory Board, General Chairmen to focus on Section 6 notices, UTU maintenance fees

As this issue of the Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen News went to press, the leadership of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, including the Advisory Board and General Chairmen, were assembling in Cleveland to finalize Section 6 notices and to discuss the UTU's letter of intent regarding dues maintenance fees.

The railroads have served their Section 6 notices on the BLET and, according to BLET National President Don Hahs, it will be a difficult round of negotiations.

"The carriers are asking for a single-craft employee and the right to operate freight trains with one worker," President Hahs said. "They are also seeking to reduce employee benefits, create an attendance policy, and eliminate the Federal Employers' Liability Act. Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us."

Collective bargaining between rail labor and management is governed by the Railway Labor Act of 1926. The RLA and its amendments spell out the process of bargaining that eventually leads to each new contract. Negotiations can take months or years because of the many steps available to both parties.

The BLET leaders will also review the United Transportation Union's letter of intent with rail carriers to begin dues and seniority maintenance fees. The UTU has been hurt financially by a substantial loss of membership to BLET since merging with the Teamsters.

"Since we merged with the IBT on January 1, we have seen a steady steam of former UTU members joining our ranks, which has no doubt hurt the UTU's bank account," President Hahs said. "It's clear to me that UTU has turned to its only ally - rail management - to seek help. We hope to come up with a plan to resolve this issue and to finalize our Section 6 notices by November 18."



© 2004 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen