Steve Presley

Palestine Mayor Steve Presley

In an impassioned speech Monday in council chambers, Palestine Mayor Steve Presley called on Union Pacific officials to apologize and drop their lawsuit against the city.

“It offends me that an extremely profitable, multi-billion dollar company wants to do away with a long-standing, legal contract, just to increase profits,” he said. “Shame on you, Union Pacific. Drop this lawsuit and apologize.”

The agreement to keep jobs here was made in 1872, and updated in 1954, Presley said.

“Three times in the past century the railroad has tried to terminate the contract,” he said. “The U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts refused to let them out.”

Presley also criticized the federal Surface Transportation Board for allowing UP to void contracts with cities nationwide. He told council members the city needs to assess its chances of prevailing in court against the railroad giant.

If at all possible, he said, the city should take up the fight against UP.

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