In a recent article in the UTU news, International President Thompson advised all members that the BLE/Teamsters have begun an all-out “nationwide raid” of the UTU. 

       As recently as July 14, the BLE/Teamsters issued fliers to the homes of UTU members touting the benefits of joining the BLE/Teamsters.  Some of the so-called “benefits” follow:  

       Alleged benefit:  “A tradition of successful representation of transportation industry workers.”   Truth:  Those of us on the Union Pacific have only to look at the UP Corporation’s 2002 annual report to see how successful the Teamsters were when negotiating with a railroad entity.  That report states, “The Teamsters’ eight-year campaign to organize OTC’s (Overnight Trucking Company) service centers has become almost dormant, and since October 2002, the Teamsters have lost rights to represent 41% of the approximately 2,100 employees they had organized. The Teamster had become the bargaining representative of the employees at 26 of OTC’s 170 service centers, but employees at 17 of these locations have voted to decertify the Teamsters, and the NLRB has officially approved the votes in 14 of those locations.  Decertification petitions are pending at four other service centers.  Only a single representation petition currently is pending, but due to strike violence charges pending against the Teamsters, the NLRB has blocked the Teamsters’ efforts to precipitate an election.”  Efforts by the Teamsters since have all but gone away.  Another “successful representation” effort that the Teamsters do not talk about is the “success” they had negotiating a contract for the flight attendants on Northwest Airlines, who recently disaffiliated with the Teamsters.

       Alleged benefit:  Current UTU members can “obtain the same level of job insurance” with LMPCA and BRCF insurance.  Truth:  While the coverage might look the same as the UTUIA, coverage is only good if the Company “pays off” at the time of need.  One good example of how the BRCF treats its members is the case of a UTU member who was fired by the Carrier several years ago for sleeping, even though the Carrier officer admitted at the investigation that Claimant was standing up and, in fact, opened the door when approached.  Even when presented with the clear-cut testimony that the Claimant was not sleeping, the BRCF denied the claim, stating that they do not pay for sleeping.  Luckily for the member, UTUIA did pay him and subsequently, this Committee won his case in a PLB with full back pay. 

       Alleged benefit:  “If BLET-Teamsters is chosen as the certified representative of the Conductor or Trainman craft on any railroad, all Trainmen agreements will be preserved.” Truth:  History shows that the BLE’s word cannot be trusted.  Former conductors on the Via Rail in Canada have been awarded as much as $230,000 (Canadian) each as a result of the BLE being found guilty of “unfair labor practices” after promises made to those conductors, prior to a representation vote, were not kept.  In defense, the BLE denied making “promises” but rather “campaign rhetoric” and that they (BLE) “cannot be held accountable for what was said during a campaign and there can be no reasonable expectation on the part of UTU members that they would obtain all that had been promised.”  The same sad scenario also happened to conductors on the former SOO line.  In both cases, the promises made by the BLE then, are the same promises that the BLET/Teamsters are promising now.  Buyers beware. 

       While the BLET hierarchy glorifies the benefits of joining with the Teamsters in their mailing, “Why BLET/TALKING POINTS AND ‘YEAH BUTS,’” the information given out, as usual, is very slanted and deceptive.  While they state that the IBT is not broke, but has “a $140 million annual budget which gives them the resources to be in the ball game,” the truth of the matter is while they might budget $140 million annually to spend, according to the 2003 LM-2 report filed by the Teamsters, at the end of 2003 they had (negative) -$7,823,351 in assets.  Likewise, when the BLET brags that the Teamsters are great organizers, according to the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), since President Hoffa took over in 1999, the Teamsters have lost over 100,000 members and since had to raise dues and seek out mergers with non-trucker unions to bolster their membership.  And while the Teamsters try to promote the idea that they have changed from doing business the “old way,” articles found on the web site suggest otherwise. 

       Truth:  The Teamsters have already broken the Central States Pension Fund, cutting benefits to their retired members, and are now looking at ways to replenish the pension fund by any means possible.  Brothers and Sisters, do not be fooled; this is not the same battle that has been waged over the years between the BLE and UTU.  This is a battle between a non-rail union (Teamsters) and all rail unions to obtain and keep control to the coffers which belong to the railroad workers and their retirees. 

       This office urges you to enlighten your fellow employees to the dangers of letting this piranha into the pool.  Don’t just take our word for it:  go to, do the research, and see what honest and good members of the Teamsters are saying and doing to try and clean up their union.  It’s not too late; according to Article 6.26 of the BLE/Teamsters Merger Agreement, either Union may withdraw from the merger at any time before December 31, 2005.  The time is now to put the truckers back on the highways.  Talk to your fellow railroader!