Rail Roundup

Canadian Rail Teamsters Set for First Election

A rank and file activist has set his sights on one of the top spots of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. This summer, members won the right to vote for their top three national officers by voting for bylaws changes proposed by Gerry Ranson of Division 320 in Vancouver. Subsequently, Ranson was nominated at the TCRC Convention in September to run for the office of vice president. He is running with incumbent Gilles Halle for president and Benoit Brunet for secretary-treasurer.

When asked what platform he is promoting as a candidate, Ranson replied, “Lean, mean, and above all, clean. The members must be in control of their union.”

The date for the ballots to be mailed and counted has not yet been set, but the election will be completed by January.

BMWED Pac Fed Ballots Counted

Ballots were counted at the end of September in the first-ever direct election for officers of the Pacific Federation of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters. Previous elections were conducted by delegates from the 18 local lodges in the federation.

The election was hotly contested, and incumbent Louis Below held onto his general chairman seat by only 16 votes. Rank and file challengers won the other two top spots, with John Villalobos taking the vice-chairman’s position and Jaime Marquez winning secretary-treasurer. Reformers also won at-large positions on the executive board.

The new officers attempted to block a dues increase that was pushed through the Pac Fed convention last week, but Below still retains control over many of the delegates.

Norfolk Southern Fears Slowdown

Management at Norfolk Southern fears that engineers and conductors may be using the power of collective action to squirrel up the system at the Buckeye Yard in Columbus, Ohio.

In late September, the company introduced remote-controlled locomotives, and since then things haven’t been going too smoothly at the yard. As a result, NS has filed suit against two unions, the BLET and the UTU. According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, the suit seeks an injunction against future slowdowns and compensation for lost revenue due.

But union leaders aren’t so sure their members are the ones causing the problems. They say it’s more likely that the new technology is at fault.

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