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Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen strike Wheeling & Lake Erie

        Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen strike Wheeling & Lake Erie

PR Newswire

CLEVELAND, Sept. 20, 2013

CLEVELAND, Sept. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over 100 members of the
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) struck the Wheeling &
Lake Erie Railway (WLE) at 5:00 local time this morning to protest that
railroad's repudiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreements that cover the
two operating crafts.


Picket lines were posted at seven primary WLE terminals in Ohio and
Pennsylvania, shutting down the entire railroad's operation.

"We were forced to take this action in defense of our contracts," said General
Chairman Bob Linsey. "Specifically, the Carrier has used management officials
to perform the work of bargaining unit employees, namely locomotive engineers
and conductors. In defiance of the union's warnings, the Carrier has also
recently ignored longstanding crew consist agreements and operated
single-person operations in an effort to eliminate Trainmen. To make matters
worse, it's done this after serving bargaining proposals to eliminate the
restrictions, an outright admission that it presently has no right to operate
this way."

BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce blasted WLE for its actions. "The WLE
bankrolled Ed Burkhardt's failed one-person operation on the Montreal, Maine
and Atlantic to the tune of a $25 million loan, so this doesn't come as much
of a surprise," Pierce said. "When General Chairman Linsey asked for strike
authorization on behalf of our members, the stakes involved made this a fairly
easy decision for me to make. It is clear that WLE's actions are in outright
defiance of its obligations, a major dispute in and of itself. BLET will not
idly stand by and allow this totally unsafe abrogation of its collectively
bargained agreements.

"A bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives has
sponsored federal legislation — H.R. 3040, the Safe Freight Act — requiring at
least two crew members on all freight trains in the nation," Pierce added,
"and I again call on the House leadership to move forward with this

Additional updates will be provided as the situation warrants.

The strike locations are: Akron, Brewster, Canton, Carey, Hartland, and Mingo
Junction, Ohio and in Carnegie, Pennsylvania at the Rook Yard.

SOURCE Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a division of the
Teamsters Rail Conference
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