CLEVELAND, OHIO 44107-4250
General Secretary and Treasurer
September 23, 2004
D. M. Hahs, President
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen
1370 Ontario Street Mezzanine
Cleveland, Ohio 4413-1702
Dear Mr. Hahs:
This will acknowledge receipt of your letter dated September 16, 2004, wherein you take exception to articles we have posted on the UTU website. You then state, "you have chosen to attack this organization and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters."
You and your organization never cease to amaze me as to how you twist the facts to your choosing. Let's set the record straight as to who started attacking whom. First and foremost, you are well aware that subsequent to my becoming UTU President, I contacted you to have lunch with me to discuss working together and trying, once again, to put these two organizations together. You insisted that this could be done only under the umbrella of the Teamsters Union. You were informed that UTU had no interest in becoming part of the Teamsters and I accepted your position.
Assistant President Rick Marceau and I then met with you and First Vice President Ed Rodzwicz in Las Vegas and we further discussed the advantages of putting these two organizations together. Again, we were informed that it had to be accomplished within the Teamsters Organization. At no time did I attack your decision regarding the Teamsters. I accepted your point of view and hoped that we could have a relationship that would benefit members of both our organizations.
In addition to that set forth above, I also called a meeting of all Rail Labor Presidents and/or their representatives at our Washington, D.C. Office to commit UTU to work more closely with the rest of Rail Labor and hopefully bring peace to Rail Labor Organizations once and for all. All Rail Labor was present at this meeting with the exception of the BLET/Teamsters. I still made no comment or took issue with the fact that you and your organization were not present.
During the time UTU was attempting to bring peace to all of Rail Labor, you and the BLET/Teamsters initiated an organizing drive against our membership. In early July, while I was attending our Regional Meeting in Boston, I received information that the BLET/Teamsters were putting an all out effort on attacking and organizing UTU train service members. You mailed applications and pamphlets explaining how much the BLET/Teamsters could do for train service members if they would drop their membership from UTU. I immediately wrote to you expressing my shock at the manner in which you intended to continue promoting the hatred between our two organizations.
I advised you that I would confront your attack full force by informing UTU members of the reasons behind the latest BLET/Teamsters all-out attack on our membership.
You and I both know what is behind your efforts. BLE has failed over the years to obtain crew consist agreements and protection for locomotive engineers as compared with the protection UTU has accomplished for our membership. With the face of new technology such as Positive Train Control and the Carriers' desire for one (1) man crews, the only way the BLET/Teamsters can begin to protect locomotive engineer positions is by taking control of UTU train service Agreements so that those Agreements can be exchanged for benefits in favor of locomotive engineers.
Your organization has a proven record of doing just this on Montana Rail Link, I & M Rail Link and VIA Rail. In fact, during the court case on VIA Rail regarding the promise made to Conductors during a representation election, your organization under oath, testified that those promises were nothing more than organizing promises.
You are correct that you have been accepting applications of former UTU members who are joining the BLET. What you have failed to mention is that the real reason you are obtaining these applications is because the BLET/Teamsters are offering free or extremely reduced dues to UTU members. Most of these individuals know little about the BLE's past history, so they join on unfounded promises and scab dues. You fail to mention that an equivalent number of BLE&T members are joining the UTU - but, in this case, for reasons of representation rather than lower dues.
It takes a lot of gall to say UTU has chosen to attack your organization and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. I have a video tape of a BLE/Teamsters meeting on June 30, 2003, in which Jimmy Hoffa promises to "Kick UTU's Ass." That is the most undignified comment that I have heard coming from any true Labor Organization. I can fully understand why you do not want to respond to any of the articles on our UTU website.
Rest assured that I will continue advising our UTU membership of the factual history of the BLE. I am posting a copy of this letter on our website along with 12 Irrefutable Truths concerning both of these organizations.
I will offer you several challenges. The first challenge is for you to produce any evidence that UTU has ever instructed our membership to become scabs. We never have nor will we ever instruct our membership to become scabs. I can produce numerous proofs that the BLET has a history of such action.
The second challenge is to produce one piece of evidence where the AFL-CIO has ever denounced and censured UTU Leadership for anti-union like activities. I can produce such evidence on the part of the BLET.
The third challenge is for you to explain to your membership why you and the BLET turned down the opportunity to have one-half of the remote control positions offered to you by UTU. If you will recall, you wanted two (2) engineers on each assignment and you were told we would give you half but not all of the remote control assignments.
The fourth challenge is to explain to your membership why after passing up the opportunity to gain one-half of the remote control assignments, you passed up a second opportunity for protection for engineers. UTU was successful in negotiating up to one-half of the protection slots for engineers regardless of union affiliation.
The record speaks for itself when it comes to representing our membership. We even looked out for the locomotive engineers affected by remote control and you and your organization denied your membership this protection that UTU was willing to share with the engineers represented by your organization. Why?
I am sorry that you have forced me to write this letter. After all, it was you and your organization that started this latest attack. At a time when all of Labor should be working to defeat George W. Bush, you have chosen to continue to try and divide these two unions.
Paul C. Thompson
R. L. Marceau, Assistant President
D. E. Johnson, General Secretary & Treasurer
D. L. Hakey, Vice President-Administration
All UTU International Officers
All U. S. Rail General Chairpersons
All State Legislative Directors