The Teamsters Rail Conference represents more than 70,000 rail employees in the United States who work as locomotive engineers, trainmen and maintenance of way workers on the five major freight railroads, Amtrak and numerous commuter rail systems and short lines. The Conference was formed in early 2004 after the merger of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and added to in late 2004 when the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes also merged with the Teamsters.
The Rail Conference holds a convention every four years, the last one being held in 2010. At that convention three officers were elected to lead the rail conference for the next four years. Dennis Pierce was elected President of the Rail Conference; Lee Pruitt was elected Vice President; and, Perry Geller was elected Secretary-Treasurer.
Pierce also won election in 2010 as the National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen at their first direct election. Also elected was Lee Pruitt as First Vice President, the BLET’s second highest office. Geller was re-elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division at their convention in 2010.
The Rail Conference’s Policy Committee meets on a regular basis to consider matters of concern to the Rail Conference such as security on the rails, job safety, contract bargaining and organizing. The members of the Policy Committee are: Dennis Pierce, Bill Walpert, Lee Pruitt and John Tolman of the BLET; and, Perry Geller, David Joynt, David Tanner and Randy Cook of the BMWED.
The Director of the Conference is John Murphy, who is also a Teamsters International Vice President. Murphy assists with organizing drives, legislation and mergers.
Organizing is the bread and butter of the Rail Conference, as it is with every trade division in the Teamsters Union. For the BLET, their Director of Organizing is Kent Confer and for the BMWED, their Director of Organizing is Tim McCall.