A United Transportation Union official says he'll urge that the union try to shut down major trunk lines if federal mediators can't settle a 10-week-old dispute with Guilford Transportation Industries.
David Fink, Guilford president, recently told Michael Maloof, UTU general chairman, that Guilford's Springfield Terminal Railway subsidiary would hire back only a few of the 1,200 UTU members who walked off the job last Nov. 12."Obviously the job action has hurt the railroad's traffic so there are not as many jobs available," Mr. Fink said. Guilford is sticking to its earlier decision that workers hired since November will be kept and that UTU picketers must reapply for jobs.
Mr. Maloof said he was surprised at Mr. Fink's action, and added the rehire condition for his members "is impossible for me to agree to." Guilford officials were not available to comment on Mr. Maloof's assertion that Mr. Fink's letter indicates the railroad operator is in deep economic trouble.
Mr. Maloof said he would recommend to UTU national officers that they seek expedited action by the National Mediation Service. "Failing that, I suppose we have to take out (attempt to disrupt) a few other railroads and let Congress settle with it (the Guilford dispute)," he said.
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Engineers used secondary picketing during its 1986 strike and prodded Guilford toward the current UTU single union contract with Springfield Terminal. The former short line is now Guilford's operating arm in New England, but has not yet been approved to take over Guilford's Delaware & Hudson Railroad operations in New York.