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LOCKED-OUT RAIL EMPLOYEES BOYCOTT USA TODAY

 LOCKED-OUT RAIL EMPLOYEES BOYCOTT USA TODAY
 CLEVELAND, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Brotherhood of Locomotive


Engineers (BLE) International President Ronald P. McLaughlin is calling on all unionized employees in the railroad industry to boycott "USA Today." The BLE boycott comes after a review of the newspaper's contacts with the BLE and other unions and "USA Today's" subsequent reporting during the national railroad lockout. McLaughlin's letter to Lane Kirkland, asking that the AFL-CIO join the BLE boycott of the paper is reprinted below. It was also announced in "The Locomotive Engineer Newsletter" mailed Aug. 26 to approximately 150,000 readers. The BLE, the nation's senior labor organization founded in 1863, never did strike. Following is the letter: President Lane Kirkland American Federation of Labor

and Congress of Industrial Organizations AFL-CIO Building 815 16th Street Washington, D.C. 20006 Dear Brother Kirkland:
 As you know, about a quarter-million unionized employees were out of work recently because CEOs at the largest rail corporations conspired to conduct a national lockout-for the sake of creating an emergency and prompting the Bush White House to intervene on management's behalf.
 A further injustice was done to these union members, after they confronted locked gates or were turned away by supervisors when they attempted to honor their collective bargaining agreements: These Brothers and Sisters were blamed for the crisis that was, in fact, hurting them-a crisis they did not want or cause.
 Unexplainably, in the pages of "USA Today," the second largest daily newspaper in the country, a non-existent "nationwide strike" by unionized employees was being blamed for a national emergency.
 The victims were portrayed as the villains.
 Our union went the full nine yards to wire, phone, fax and educate one-to-one the "USA Today" reporters who were covering the event-before, during and after. The reporters indicated in every instance that they understood the difference between a national lockout and the single, limited strike by the International Association of Machinists. These reporters knew the BLE and other unions weren't simply spinning a semantic fantasy; they knew we were telling them the truth!
 However, "USA Today" reported that strikers were why commuters and Amtrak passengers were being stranded and valuable crops were rotting in the fields. Our public relations department immediately confronted one of the reporters, who admitted that although the important fact was understood-that the national rail service shutdown was created by a lockout-by the time reporters' stories were published, the reporter said, "someone else puts their fingerprints on them."
 A lead editorial confirmed the suspicion that the newspaper's goal was to report the situation falsely to its readers. "USA Today" knowingly chose to print management lies and propaganda while editing the facts we relayed to its reporters. For this reason, I am calling on the AFL-CIO to initiate and endorse a boycott of "USA Today"-this boycott should last until the newspaper publishes an apology to our nation's unionized railroad employees.
 I hope you will agree that bringing this irresponsible reporting to the attention of all union families and the American people, by publicizing this boycott to affiliate members and competing media, is the justified response we should follow. It will be a boycott which all union members and news outlets truly interested in fair and objective news reporting will welcome and support.
 I have included a copy of the paper's own "Our View" editorial which uses variations of "national" and "strike" at least 10 times. Please note this paragraph, as over 1.7 million "USA Today" readers certainly did:
 "A nationwide rail strike erupted, bringing ominous
 possibilities: grain rotting, poultry dying, vegetables
 spoiling, jobs lost and 600,000 passengers stranded."
 This is clearly a slap in the face to the men and women represented by AFL-CIO affiliates in the railroad industry, and to all of organized labor. It demands an apology. I look forward to a commitment from you to help this Brotherhood promote a boycott of "USA Today" until we get one. In Solidarity, /s/ Ronald P. McLaughlin International President cc: George J. Kourpias, Int'l. Assoc. of Machinists & Aerospace Workers
 Mac A. Fleming, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes
 Robert J. Irvin, American Train Dispatchers Assn.
 W.D. Pickett, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen
 E.T. Hanley, Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int'l. Union
 Charles W. Jones, Int'l. Brotherhood of Boilermakers & Blacksmiths
 Edward P. McEntee, Int'l. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
 James L. Walker, Int'l. Brotherhood of Firemen & Oilers
 John Bowers, Int'l. Longshoremen's Association
 Alexander C. Cullison, Nat'l. Marine Engineers' Beneficial Assn.
 G. Thomas Dubose, United Transportation Union
 Edward Wytkind, AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department Enclosures:
 1) BLE News Releases to "USA Today"
 2) IAM News Release
 3) "USA Today" news articles
 4) "USA Today" editorial
 -0- 8/27/92
 /CONTACT: Stephen W. FitzGerald of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, 216-241-2630, ext. 251, or 216-241-2639, after 4:30 p.m. EDT/ CO: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers ST: Ohio IN: TRN SU:


KK -- CL006 -- 3992 08/27/92 13:57 EDT
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Date:Aug 27, 1992
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