July 31, 2014

UTU-represented shortline has new owner

LONGVIEW, Wash. — UTU-represented train and engine employees of Columbia & Cowlitz Railroad here have a new employer in Patriot Rail Corp. after Patriot completed purchase of the shortline from paper manufacturer and forest products supplier Weyerhaeuser.

Also included in the sale is Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad (a non-UTU property) that connects with Columbia & Cowlitz. The two are slated to be consolidated into one shortline by Patriot, a shortline holding company whose properties include UTU-represented Louisiana & North West Railroad.

UTU Assistant President Arty Martin has met four times in recent months with the UTU train and engine employees on Columbia & Cowlitz, and has assigned International Vice President Paul Tibbit to work in conjunction with General Chairperson Sean Kibbee to monitor the transfer of ownership, which includes protection of seniority and work assignments.

“As the nation’s largest rail union, the UTU has a long history of successful experience in processing grievances governed by the Railway Labor Act, and the UTU will work diligently on behalf of our Columbia & Cowlitz members to ensure a smooth and properly protected transition,” Martin said.