The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers is the senior railway labor union in the western hemisphere. It was founded in 1863 and has provided the highest quality of representation for locomotive engineers and now for other crafts of rail employees, for 134 years. In addition to providing representation for its members, the BLE aggressively participates in the labor movement with other unions and organizations in promoting the interests of working men and women and their families. The goal of improving the wages, benefits and working conditions of railroad employees has not changed during the 134 years of the BLE's existence.
This book briefly outlines the history of this great organization. As the reader will see, the BLE and its members have survived and prospered during the darkest and brightest days of our country's history. Founded during the tragic days of the Civil War, BLE members contributed to the war efforts in all of our nation's battles up to and including the Persian Gulf War. Their contributions were both on and off of the rails, in and out of uniform.
Safety in the railroad industry has always been an issue of concern to the BLE. Our officers and members continue to work with government agencies, public officials and railroad management in a continuous effort to increase safety for our members and for the general public. While one tragic railroad accident is too many, the number of such accidents have decreased immeasurably during the years of the existence of our organization. These efforts will never cease.
The BLE is also a very financially sound organization. The management of the organization over the years by its elected officers has provided the membership with a fiscally responsible organization. The conservative use of the members' dues money continues to be a policy of the BLE administration.
As we proudly recall the trials and tribulations of our past, we look to the future with optimism, expectations and excitement. Through the use of electronic communications, the BLE has opened the door to a greater exchange of ideas and information to and from its members. Computerization of the BLE offices has proven that we are truly an organization possessing a tradition of forward thinking.
We are ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
International President Clarence V. Monin, right, and First Vice-President Edward Dubroski stand in front of the historic marker placed at the birthplace of the BLE, the one-time home of Jared C. "Yankee" Thompson. Along with William D. Robinson, Thompson spearheaded the founding of the BLE in Marshall, Mich. It was in that house at 633 West Hanover St., Marshall, Mich., that, in April of 1863, a group of Michigan Central engineers gathered to lay plans for a protective organization for locomotive engineers. Brothers Dubroski and Monin visited the BLE birthplace prior to their election at the Sixth Quinquennial International Convention in July of 1996.
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