Remote control hearings conclude

The three-way arbitration hearing regarding the carriers' assignment of remote control operations to non-engineers took place in Chicago on November 18 and 19.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers began the hearing by presenting oral arguments and was followed by the rail carriers and the United Transportation Union, respectively. The hearing concluded on November 19 after each party presented its rebuttals.

BLE President Don Hahs said the BLE team did an excellent job of presenting the BLE's position. President Hahs served as the BLE's Board Member at the hearing, while Robert Allen represented the rail carriers and Byron Boyd represented the UTU.

The three parties could not agree on a single question to pose to the arbitrators, so each party submitted its own.

The BLE took the position that, "The assignment of other than locomotive engineers to operate locomotives via remote control in connection with the movement of cars, trains and/or engines in terminal operations is a violation of the exclusive rights of locomotive engineers to perform such service pursuant to existing BLE Agreements and established practice."

The BLE position was argued by Attorney Mike Wolly and BLE International Vice-President Rick Radek.

"We don't know the outcome yet but the presentation by Mike Wolly and Rick Radek was outstanding," President Hahs said.

In addition to Brother Radek and Mr. Wolly, four BLE general chairmen and two vice-chairmen participated on the BLE's behalf. They were: Tim Donnigan, UP-Western Region General Chairman; Don Menefee, CSXT-Northern Lines General Chairman; Dennis Pierce, BNSF-North Lines General Chairman; Larry Sykes, Norfolk Southern-Northern Lines General Chairman; Randall Pinson, CSX-Western Lines First Vice-Chairman; and Tom Stolts, Kansas City Southern Vice-General Chairman.

"These Brothers helped demonstrate that the issue of a computer replacing a locomotive engineer couldn't be further from the truth," President Hahs said.

While it is unclear when a final decision will be issued, it is expected before the end of the year.


© 2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers