The USRLB'S agreement with ACRE on these issues encouraged African American trainmen to regard the Board as a continuation of the fairly progressive legacy of federal control.
But the days of the USRLB, which white trainmen regarded as largely a defender of companies on issues involving wages and working conditions, were numbered.
Despite the promise of the AFL-favoured legislation to improve the bargaining position of labour on a national level, African American trainmen led by ACRE and the Chicago-based Railway Men's Industrial Benevolent Association opposed abolition of the USRLB. As ACRE'S Kentucky-based representative, Thomas Redd, noted, the proposed law was intended to gain representation on adjustment boards for standard railroad labour organizations to the exclusion of the public and representatives of independent organizations such as ACRE.
The African American trainmen's quest to defend the weak USRLB made sense.