Allegations of insider-dealing and violations of fiduciary duty swirl around the top officers of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET-IBT), following a tentative labor contract they signed.Read more
Rail workers – including some 70,000 Teamster engineers, trainmen and track workers – are under a double attack coming from Washington DC. The Teamsters Union should be leading a fight back with other unions and with the public, to save passenger rail service in the USA.Read more
On March 16th, President Trump released a blueprint budget that proposes to slash funding for the Department of Transportation by $2.4 billion, including funding for all Amtrak “long distance” trains, along with funding for dozens of transit expansion projects nationwide. In recent months, Trump has voiced support for massive investment in the nation’s infra-structure. Yet ironically, his first proposed budget not only fails to deliver, it guts funding for existing infrastructure.Read more
Fred Zuckerman and Teamsters United campaigned on a platform of fighting job elimination, outsourcing, and fighting for safety for rail workers and the public. Rail Teamsters responded.Read more
A strike by about 3,000 locomotive engineers and conductors at the Canadian Pacific Railway unexpectedly ended on Monday, its second day, as both sides agreed to arbitration. The announcement came about half an hour before a bill was to be introduced in Parliament ordering the members of the union, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, back to work.
Canadian Pacific said the “ramp-up process” to resume train service had begun. Though it could not say precisely how long that would take, a spokesman, Martin Cej, said “it will be fast.”
Click here to read more at The New York Times.
Dennis Pierce, National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and President of the Teamsters Rail Conference (U.S.), blasted Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) today for its growing culture of threats and intimidation toward its employees in the U.S. and Canada. Pierce commented following CP’s issuance of a letter to the BLET representatives on its U.S. operations, Soo Line and the Delaware & Hudson.
In those notices, CP threatened its U.S.-based locomotive engineers who work into Canada with disciplinary action, even termination, if they refuse to cross picket lines manned by their legally striking Canadian Brothers and Sisters belonging to Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC).
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Teamsters Canada Rail Conference has given Canadian Pacific Railway 72-hour strike notice, meaning 3,300 locomotive engineers, conductors and other train workers could walk off the job midnight on Saturday.
Union president Doug Finnson is in Montreal this week negotiating with CP, with the help of federal mediation, but says the union has not made headway on issues such as working conditions.
Click here to read more at CBC News.
When American freight trains delivered cargo after World War II, the steam-belching beasts commonly had seven people aboard — an engineer, a conductor, up to four brakemen and a fireman.
Trains have since grown much longer, seemingly stretching to the horizon and often taking 20 minutes to pass through a crossing. And crews have been reduced in size — to five people in the 1970s and two in 1991. Now U.S. railroads want to put a single person in charge of today's huge locomotives, taking another step toward a future in which the nation's rail-cargo system increasingly could resemble toy train sets — highly mechanized networks run by computers or distant controllers.
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September 11, 2014: Rail workers have shouted a loud “No” to single-person train crews. The contract rejection was delivered by conductors who work for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), who are members of SMART (Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers union).
“Rail workers told the BNSF railway, their union leaders and fellow rail workers that they will not support single-person crews,” said Ron Kaminkow, an engineer for Amtrak and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLET) affiliated with the Teamsters.
Kaminkow is an activist in Railroad Workers United (RWU), a network of rail workers in various unions, including the Teamsters. RWU seeks to build solidarity and break down petty rivalries fostered by certain union officials.
RWU noted that the SMART top officials negotiated the deal in secret, then tried to sell it with smoke and mirrors and a “signing bonus.”
“The surprise attack, coming from the union, on the 2 person train crew, lit a fire under the rank and file like I have never seen in my 13 years of railroading” said JP Wright of BLET IBT 740 and Co-Chair of RWU.
RWU’s press release notes that the contract rejection is “a decisive victory, not just for the trainmen and engineers on the BNSF, but for every railroad worker in North America.”
It is especially important for the 33,000 rail engineers of the BLET-IBT. These Teamsters would be under the gun to accept single-person operating crews, if the second-largest rail line in North America had won that concession.
RWU was instrumental in coordinating the opposition to the contract among trainmen and engineers, with conference calls on strategy, leaflets, stickers, rallies and media coverage.
Kaminkow said the priority now is to build on the solidarity that powered this win. The RWU statement calls this “the opening shot in a protracted war” to preserve union jobs and public safety on North America’s rail lines.
Click here to read the Railroad Workers United press statement for more information.