Dennis Pierce, National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, opened the second day of the Fourth National Convention with an address by Ken Hall, Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer. The majority of the day was spent reviewing numerous suggested changes to the BLET’s Bylaws which generated much discussion among the delegates. During the day, Convention attendees were privileged to have video greetings from Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
In his address to the delegates, Hall emphasized the need to vote in the November elections and having pride in union membership.
“We are union members – we ought to be damn proud we are union members,” Hall said. “I watched the fight with your last contract – fighting the company and the US government. Dennis Pierce was everywhere. Every time I spoke to him he was somewhere else. He was with his members. If you want members to be involved – you have to be out with your members.
“Unions have got to get back to when we stood up and fought for what is good for union members. We should be proud to be part of a union. And, in November we have a shot to take back the House of Representatives. Make sure you, your family and friends vote!”
Convention Program Informs Delegates
There is a wide variety of members attending the convention as delegates. Some have been members for many years and have attended conventions in the past, while others are first timers. Dana Marlow, for example, is the general chairman for the Union Pacific Southern Region General Committee of Adjustment, and this is his third convention as a delegate.
“I’m here with 28 delegates representing 32 divisions of Union Pacific,” Marlow said. “I was hired on the Katy railroad in 1979 and when I was hired everything was by sight – there was a depot agent every 8 to 10 miles. They would put train orders on poles which we would grab. A lot has changed since then.”
Jay Anderson, a member for 10 years and a local chairman of Division 695 in Minot, North Dakota said that this was his first convention. “So far, this is very informative. We are going to take a lot of information back to our members.” Anderson also said that many of the speakers made good points about standing with politicians that believe in working families and that its important to stand up to those who don’t.
The agenda for the third day of the convention highlights nominations for the BLET national officer election, a vide greeting from Senator Cortez Masto and an address from Jennifer Homendy, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board.