Posts Tagged ‘Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen’

BLET Marks Anniversary of Founding

May 8, 2021

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen will mark its 158th anniversary today.

The union was founded as the Brotherhood of the Footboard on May 8, 1863, in Marshall, Michigan.

It became the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers in 1864 and merged with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on Jan. 1, 2004, when it became BLET. 

It is the oldest labor union in the Western Hemisphere.

In a news release, BLET officials said the union emerged after locomotive engineers on the Michigan Central became discouraged with pay cuts and the arbitrary dismissal of their firemen. BLET was the first labor organization to obtain contracts with railroads, including the NYC in 1875.

Today, the BLET has hundreds of contracts with railroads and represents locomotive engineers on 98 percent of rail trackage in the United States.

FRA Gives Unions Added Time to File Appeals

February 17, 2021

Two railroad labor unions have received additional time from the Federal Railroad Administration to file petitions for review by the Operating Crew Review Board.

FRA rules governing certification of locomotive engineers and conductors require that petitions to review a railroad’s decision to deny certification or recertification must be filed with the OCRB no more than 120 days after the date of the railroad’s final decision.

The FRA’s latest action extends the 120-day limit to 180 days.

The agency said it agreed to extend the time to file appeals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extension is a waiver that will expire on Feb. 11, 2022, unless extended by the agency.

The unions that sought the extension were the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the SMART Transportation Division.

Amtrak, Unions Seek ‘No Ride’ List

January 15, 2021

Amtrak and two labor unions are urging the federal government to create a “no ride” list similar to the “no fly” list maintained by the Transportation Security Administration.

The proposal was made in the wake of rioting on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol in which a mob invaded the building and sent members of Congress and their staffs seeking shelter.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our employees,” Amtrak CEO William Flynn said in a statement.

“Since the start of the pandemic, our dedicated front line employees have kept our trains running, providing a vital transportation service to essential workers,” he said.

“We join our labor partners in continuing to call upon Congress and the Administration to make assaults against rail workers a Federal crime, as it is for aviation workers, and to expand the TSA’s ‘No Fly List’ to rail passenger service.”

The two unions that called for the “no ride” list included the International Association for Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

The unions sent their request seeking an emergency order to the Federal Railroad Administration and Department of Homeland Security.

The unions noted that there are no laws or regulations that penalize those who interfere with or do harm to members of train crews.

Nor is there a screening process for passengers similar to that conducted by TSA agents at airports.

The FAA in the meantime has announced that it is tightening enforcement of its rules for how airlines will handle unruly passengers aboard flights.

That action followed multiple reports of members of Congress being verbally harassed and threatened about flights and in airports.

Unions Seek Protection for Trains in Washington

January 13, 2021

Two railroad labor unions have asked the Federal Railroad Administration and Department of Homeland Security to protect passengers and railroad workers of Amtrak, MARC and Virginia Railway Express services in and around Washington.

The Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, Transportation Division and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen said they are seeking additional security measures in the wake of rioting that occurred in the nation’s capital on Jan. 6.

The unions have asked federal authorities for a minimal standard that any regulation granted to prohibit the interference of a train crew’s duty be in line with that of aviation statutes and regulations.

The letter to the FRA and Homeland Security sent by the unions cited  “the very real risk and potential for additional violence and riots.” It noted that Washington remains on high alert.

BLET Workers OK Contract With Susie Q

December 4, 2020

Union workers at the New York, Susqhehanna & Western have ratified a new five-year contract.

The pact governs wages, benefits and work rules for 45 members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

It also includes retroactive pay and general wage increases each year through Jan. 1, 2024, BLET said in a news release.

The contract provides for increased certification pay for locomotive engineers and additional paid time off for all members.

BLET members who have been employed for 25 years or more will receive a sixth week of vacation.

Based in Cooperstown, New York, the NYS&W operates over 400 miles of track in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Retired BLET Lawyer Dies

December 2, 2020

A retired executive of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen has died.

Harold Ross, 89, was the union’s general counsel between 1967 and 2011.

A news release issued by the union, said Ross argued and won two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court: Landers v. Amtrak and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers in 1988, and Interstate Commerce Commission v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers in 1987.

Ross was named an honorary member of BLET in 2004, which union officials said it a rare honor bestowed on fewer than 20 people in the organization’s 157-year history.

After joing BLET as a grand chief engineer in 1958, Ross provided legal counsel to 15 BLET presidents.

He is survived by three children. His son, Greg Ross, is the BLET National Division’s director of communications, director of legal affairs and assistant to the office administrator.

Indiana Southern Workers Ratify New Contract

November 6, 2020

A new collective bargaining agreement has been ratified by employees of the Indiana Southern Railroad.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen said the five-year contract governs rates of pay, benefits and work rules for 17 members, including locomotive engineers and conductors.

The ISRR union workers belong to BLET Division 270 based in Washington, Indiana.

The ISRR is part of the Genesee & Wyoming and operates 196 miles of former Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central track between Indianapolis and Evansville, Indiana.

Primary commodities hauled include coal and agricultural commodities that are interchanged with CSX, Norfolk Southern and the Indiana Rail Road.

BLET Names New VP

November 2, 2020

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen has appointed Vincent Verna as vice president and national legislative representative. 

He will replace John Tolman, who is retiring after a 50-year career in railroading.

Tolman, who joined BLET in 1980, has held several positions in the BLE International and BLET National Division Office, including education and training coordinator, safety task force coordinator, chief of staff and political director. 

His office has helped introduce legislation across at state and local levels, including the recent passage of two-person crew bills in several states, the union said in a news release.

Verna has served as regulatory affairs director since 2011.

After joining BLET in 1995, he served in various positions including BLET Division 28 chairman and legislative representative.

Union Members OK Pact with WNY&P

July 22, 2020

Union members have approved a new contract with the Western New York & Pennsylvania.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen said the contract was ratified unanimously.

The pact, which is effective through 2025, provides wage increases of about 25 percent over the life of the contract and includes an immediate $2 per hour increase in pay and general wage increases effective Jan. 1 each year through Jan. 1, 2025.

Terms also call for for additional pay for each tour of duty on remote control assignments.

Personal time off also was approved and discipline and investigation rules were modified to provide for limited electronic communication with a fall-back provision that if communication is not accomplished within 24 hours, the documents will be mailed via U.S. Mail.

The WNYP’s mainline ruins for 190 miles from Hornell, New York, to Meadville, Pennsylvania, with a 90-mile branch from Machias, New York, to North Driftwood, Pennsylvania.

BLET Reaches Pact with Indiana Short Line

July 3, 2020

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen said this week it has reached a tentative agreement with the Indiana Southern Railroad.

The pact governs rates of pay, benefits and work rules for 17 members, including locomotive engineers and conductors.

Ratification ballots were mailed June 25 to active members of the BLET employed by the ISRR and are due by July 21.

In a news release, BLET said ISRR members belong to Division 270 located in Washington, Indiana, which is a part of the CP Rail-U.S. General Committee of Adjustment.

The BLET organized the ISRR, which is part of short line holding company Genesee & Wyoming,  in September 2002.

It operates 196 miles of track between Indianapolis and Evansville. Primary commodities hauled include coal and agricultural commodities.