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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

What Houses are going for these days.

Today's news flash from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen:

BLET gets CF&E shortline organizing victory

CLEVELAND, October 4 -- BLET National President Don Hahs today welcomed the operating employees of the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad (CF&E) as the newest members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET).

The CF&E win represents the latest in a string of 13 shortline organizing victories for the BLET dating back to 2002, bringing more than 1,000 workers into the house of labor.
The National Mediation Board certified the election on September 28.

"This was a total team effort by the BLET Organizing Department,” said Tommy Miller, the BLET’s Organizing Director.

A Rail America subsidiary, the CF&E is the BLET’s second organizing victory this year, as workers at the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway voted to join the BLET in January.

“I welcome these new Brothers and Sisters into the House of Labor and look forward to securing a collective bargaining agreement on their behalf,” President Hahs said.

The Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad, which was acquired through a lease agreement with CSX by the Central Railroad of Indianapolis, commenced operations on August 1, 2004.
Major customers on the line are Central Soya, Steel Dynamics, Procter & Gamble, Cargill and National Lime & Stone. Commodities shipped include agricultural products, chemicals, metals, paper and minerals.

The 276-mile line runs from Crestline, Ohio to Tolleston, Ind., east of Chicago.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005bentley@ble.org
The press release can be seen in context on the BLET site here.

Is a 1,000 membership gain over a 3 to 4 year organizing period significant?

I think it is a significant gain for that union.

Unions have been damaged badly in the last few years, especially when the Democrats caved on NAFTA.

I have been a member of three unions in my working career. I have worked many years in nuclear power plants, Steel mills, one foundry, and a food manufacturing plant. I have been a Steelworker, an Electrical Worker, and a Power Plant worker.

Unions can be either good or bad, it just depends on the specific union.
Yes, it is when you consider that the total membership of the BLE-T is only somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 or less. Also, railroads are one of the last strongholds of union organization, but I fear that is only for the short term future, it keeps getting chipped away at, primarily by the sale of lines to become shortlines, CF&E being in the minority to be organized. I don't know how to say it, but it's hard to explain the railroad to an outsider and harder still to explain why the two major operating unions are at each others' throats instead of working together.
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Keep coming back and explaining your take on railroad.
I have always felt that freight railroads have been vastly under-reported by the media in Fort Wayne.
This is a big railroading county. The railroads have a big payroll impact, a big property tax impact, and a big economic development impact.
One of the functions of this site will be to cover railroad news.
I would be delighted if more railroad employees would feel free to post comments on Indiana Parley.
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