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AMTRAK ENGINEERS RELIEVED BUT FEAR BUSH VETO AND SECOND LOCKOUT MAY COME

 AMTRAK ENGINEERS RELIEVED BUT FEAR
 BUSH VETO AND SECOND LOCKOUT MAY COME
 CLEVELAND, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) General Chairman Ronald E. Wiggins expressed relief today at the announcement by final Arbitrator Robert M. O'Brien that he has chosen the BLE's final contract offer over the final offer of Amtrak management. O'Brien's decision could bring an end to the over four-year stalemate.
 However, the supposedly binding decision could be vetoed by President Bush, and if so, Amtrak management would be free to once more lock out its engineers, as it did last month. A lockout would shut down all passenger, commuter and Northeast freight service by rail, said Wiggins, who also expressed relief for 1,300 Amtrak employees he represents: "More than anything else, I'm happy to put this stage of our struggle behind us. We're pleased that our position was vindicated by Mr. O'Brien's decision."
 Wiggins noted, however, that the emergency legislation that created the baseball-style, binding arbitration overseen by arbitrator O'Brien, also gives Bush the right to veto the otherwise binding decision: "This process has taught me not to be surprised at any development. Since a veto would put us right back where we were on June 24 - facing another lockout - until we get a clear signal from the White House that the binding arbitrator's decision will not be vetoed, we must prepare for a second lockout by Amtrak if Bush shoots down the binding arbitration."
 In the event of another Amtrak lockout, Wiggins said all passenger, freight and commuter rail services traveling over Amtrak's property, particularly in the Northeast Corridor would come to a halt, creating for the second time in two months a national emergency.
 "We and other rail unions will work with everyone concerned to ensure no interruption of rail services, but ultimately our hands are tied if Bush vetoes the binding arbitration and Amtrak management shuts us down," said Wiggins. "In the meantime, I hope the Administration will state publicly that they intend to honor the binding decision by Mr. O'Brien, so America's rail passengers and commuters needn't worry about their travel plans ... and so locomotive engineers and operating employees may work uninterrupted ... remember we never did strike when we legally could have last month, we wanted a settlement instead."
 BLE General Secretary-Treasurer Edward Dubroski, who was also assigned to the negotiations, said the binding arbitrator's decision could be, "a turning point for American labor."
 "American workers have been taking it on the chin for over 10 years. This time, for a change, reason and fairness have prevailed," Dubroski said. "I congratulate everyone who worked to make this success possible, and I especially congratulate the men and women who run Amtrak trains for hanging tough for a better contract."
 In his letter to Bush yesterday, O'Brien wrote: "In accordance with Public Law 102-36, I have selected the written contract submitted by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers as the more reasonable of the two contracts submitted to me."
 BLE International President Ronald P. McLaughlin, likewise, expressed the concerns of union members: "Now, the unionized men and women of Amtrak must wait to see if 'binding' means binding to the politicians in the White House. A Bush veto and another lockout by rail management would be outrageous!"
 -0- 7/30/92
 /CONTACT: Steve Fitzgerald, 216-241-2630 ext. 251, or Ronald E. Wiggins, 609-488-7432, both of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers/ CO: Botherhood of Locomotive Engineers ST: Ohio IN: TRN SU:


BM -- CL019 -- 5180 07/30/92 14:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 30, 1992
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