Rail Teamsters Need Change

April 22, 2006: “Rail engineers and trainmen face vicious attacks from their employers. If we’re going to meet the challenges we face in the rail industry, then we must make change in our union,” said Ed Michael, a Union Pacific rail engineer and Teamster in the BLET.

Michael, a member of the TDU International Steering Committee, was recently elected convention delegate along with alternate delegate Brad Thompson.

Rail Teamsters are up against the most serious threats ever to their job security—from job-killing remote control technology to an employer drive to limit staffing to one crew member. Employers are also pushing to slash members’ benefits.

“When our union merged with the Teamsters two years ago, members like myself hoped that Teamster Power would give us the strength we needed at the bargaining table and in Washington,” Michael said. “But the carriers have handed us the nastiest contract proposals ever, and our leadership can’t seem to muster up a fight. The potential for power is there, but right now it is being squandered away.”

Michael supports a grassroots initiative to give engineers and trainmen the Right to Vote for the national officers of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

“We’re also looking ahead to the IBT election and the chance to elect Tom Leedham,” Michael said. “We must have leaders who will fight hard against our employers’ vicious attacks.”

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