(1) The UTU has negotiated superior contracts in all recent rounds of national handling with major rail carriers - agreements that have provided incremental and improved wages, health-care insurance benefits, and working conditions that kept our members well ahead of inflation. The BLE has said, "me too," to those agreements - and for good reason. Here is an example: In 2000, the cost to the railroads for our members' Fringe Benefits was $28,200.10 per year or $2,341.68 per month. As of the first of January, 2004, the cost to the railroads for our Fringe Benefits was $32,688.27 per year or $2,724.04 per month. That is an increase of $4,488.17 per year, or $382.45 per month over the last four (4) year period. There are college graduates that do not earn in wages, what our members' Fringe Benefits alone are worth. This is the result of a union dedicated to seeing that our membership enjoys the highest living standards possible.

(2) In 1982, the BLE conducted a National strike over the basic issue of the engineer being the highest paid member of the crew. They did not prevail because President Ronald Reagan appointed Presidential Emergency Board No. 194. It was this Board's Recommendation for the establishment of The Study Commission [See page 10 of the PEB's Recommendations.] The BLE alone was responsible for the establishment of the Van Wart Study Commission which recommended raising the basic day to 160 miles; eliminating all arbitraries and special allowances; permitting carriers to establish extra boards at all points; the use of extra crews in lieu of pool or assigned crews; allowing road crews to do unlimited switching; using straight-time employees at will ahead of those who would qualify for overtime; and permanently capping new hire pay at 70 percent of the then-existing rate. Being faced with these kinds of recommendations, UTU was successful in limiting most of the recommendations from the Van Wart Study Commission. The BLE as usual, then blamed the UTU for the October 31, 1985 National Agreement when the (BLE) was the cause for those recommendations.

(3) It took the UTU almost 20 years to undo the recommendations of the Van Wart Study Commission. The contract our members overwhelmingly ratified in 2002 did just that. Not surprisingly, the BLE said, "me, too." By obtaining trip rates, the UTU forever put to rest carrier attempts to increase the basic day; rolled monies attributable to national pay elements into trip rates so carriers no longer could sharp-shoot them; and brought post-'85 employees to wage parity with respect to those national pay elements. At no time since The Study Commission Recommendations has the BLE attempted to take the lead and address the serious problems with those recommendations. The BLE has continued to sit back and allowed the UTU to take the lead in correcting these damaging recommendations and then lambasted the UTU for our efforts. Members of both Organizations should ask themselves what would have happened to these recommendations had UTU not have taken the lead? The BLE has enjoyed 19 years of sitting back and shooting at UTU and have failed to show the power they contend they have in representing their membership. UTU has shown time and again who is really representing the membership of both Organizations. One cannot sit back and do nothing for 19 years but blame the UTU and then try to convince everyone that they (BLE) provide the best representation. Actions speak louder than words!

(4) The only time BLE has successfully taken the lead in bargaining was in March 2001 when then-BLE Vice President Don Hahs negotiated the very first remote control agreement with a U.S. railroad. That BLE agreement on Montana Rail Link eliminated train service employees represented by the BLE on remote control operations, replacing them with two engineers.

(5) The BLE has a history of selling out other crafts and scabbing. Back in 1966, while UTU predecessor, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen (BLF&E) was fighting to preserve the fireman craft, the BLE told its members to cross BLF&E picket lines. You can look it up. On April 1, 1966, United Press International reported that the BLE told its members, "Go back to your jobs and ignore (BLF&E) picket lines."

(6) That was not the first time the BLE attempted to sell out other crafts or scab. Again, you can look it up. According to the Daily Labor Report of Oct. 16, 1985, the BLE attempted to sell out conductors and brakemen with its Lake Erie Plan to reduce train crew size to just two engineers represented by the BLE. In exchange for helping carriers eliminate conductors and brakemen, BLE-represented engineers were to receive up to a 75 percent increase in pay. BLE President John Sytsma predicted technology would permit engineer-only operations. It was only because of UTU crew-consist agreements that the BLE's Lake Erie Plan could not be put into effect.

(7) There is still more. As reported by The Journal of Commerce on Aug. 23, 1994, the BLE "authorized its members to cross UTU picket lines and return to work" during a UTU strike against Soo Line Railroad. That newspaper described BLE's scab action as "unprecedented." A shocked Transportation Communications Union President Robert Scardelletti told TCU members to display "solidarity" with the UTU. Many BLE members refused to follow the BLE directive to scab against the UTU and BLE President Ron McLaughlin was dubbed "King Scab."

(8) More recently, on VIA Rail in Canada, the BLE promised to protect conductors if they joined the BLE. The BLE then agreed to operate VIA Rail passenger trains with engineers only. Again, you can look it up. In a story in its own April 1997 newsletter, headlined, "VIA Rail chops conductors," the BLE reported, "The role of conductors will be merged with locomotive engineers, moving the ultimate responsibility for the safe operation of trains into the cab." What did the BLE tell the conductors it had sold out after falsely promising to protect their jobs? BLE told them, "There can be no reasonable expectation on the part of UTU members that they would obtain all that had been promised." That quote appears repeatedly in legal action taken against the BLE by the Canada Industrial Relations Board, which found the BLE guilty of "breaching its statutory duty of fair representation."

(9) While the BLE has sought to sell-out other crafts and scabbed, the UTU was pioneering an agreement allowing qualified ground-service employees, working under UTU contracts, to transfer into engine service, retaining their ground-service seniority. The BLE was strongly opposed to train service employees being allowed to retain their train service seniority when transferring to engine service. In fact, because of the UTU's Section 6 Notice, in 1978, the BLE took the fireman's contract in a representation election on the Cotton Belt Railroad. The BLE's reason was that train service employees should not be allowed to retain their trainmen's seniority when working as engineers. Every operating employee - be it engineer or train service employee -owes their job to the efforts of the UTU.

(10) While the BLE disavows that the purpose of the Teamsters in seeking rail members is to . get its hands on the Railroad Retirement Trust Fund, the BLE acknowledges that just such a disaster could occur were legislation introduced in Congress to do so. In fact, if all rail labor organizations were merged into the Teamsters - as the BLE proposes -and thus placed under control of the Teamsters, there would be no independent railroad union voice to oppose such legislation before Congress.

(11) On May 8, 2004, UTU President Paul C. Thompson called a Rail Labor Chief Summit in Washington, D.C. to discuss better cooperation of Rail Labor and UTU's commitment to work more closely with Rail Labor. Also discussed at this Summit was a unified position by Rail Labor on FELA. All Rail Labor was at this meeting with the exception of the BLET.

(12) UTU offered one-half (1/2) of the remote control positions to engineers. The BLE refused. UTU was successful in negotiating up to one-half (1/2) of all protection positions for locomotive engineers as a result of remote control operations. For engineers to gain this protection that UTU negotiated, the BLE had to accept this protection. They refused because UTU and not the BLE was successful in negotiating the protection for engineers. You can look it up. See Side Letter to the UTU August 20, 2002 Remote Control Agreement addressing Remote Control protection.