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Submitted: January 12, 2011

Before WOLLMAN, LOKEN, and SMITH, Circuit Judges.

Historically, railroad engineers were members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (“BLET”); conductors and other trainmen were members of the United Transportation Union (“UTU”). Today, with railroad jobs consolidated in a reduced workforce, engineers often work as trainmen and vice versa. But the unions have not merged, and the Railway Labor Act provides that an employee need only be a member of one union while working in any train service capacity. 45 U.S.C. § 152 Eleventh (c). The result is that a member of one union may be disciplined while working under the other union’s collective bargaining agreement. This situation has created recurring litigation and perplexing “jurisdictional” disputes, as this appeal illustrates. See generally Landers v. Nat’l R.R. Passenger Corp., 485 U.S. 652, 656-58 (1988); Ryan v. Union Pac. R.R., 286 F.3d 456, 458-59 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 880 (2002).

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