BLET endorses Barack Obama for Reelection
BILLINGS, Mont. July 31 — Just moments before the opening of the 72nd Annual International Western Convention (IWC), the BLET’s Advisory Board voted unanimously today to endorse Barack Obama for reelection as President of the United States.
“We believe President Obama is the best candidate to protect the rights of the 55,000 men and women of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said, in announcing the endorsement during opening ceremonies here at the IWC, prompting a rousing ovation from the body.
As part of his commitment to more strongly involve all departments of the BLET, President Pierce announced today that the union’s top legislative body, the National Legislative Board, passed a resolution last week urging that the Advisory Board endorse President Obama’s reelection.
The BLET cited the ongoing War on Workers as a primary reason for endorsing President Obama.
“The divide and conquer strategy employed by Corporate America and its agents at all levels of government has turned working class Americans against one another,” President Pierce said. “Barack Obama presents our best chance at fighting back against these attacks on the Middle Class.”
The presumptive Republican nominee stands on a decidedly anti-rail worker platform. On the campaign trail, he has promised to slash Amtrak’s budget, endangering the jobs of thousands of unionized Amtrak employees, and thus, the stability of the Railroad Retirement system. Additionally, he has supported the Republican Party’s Ryan Budget, which proposes to deprive railroad workers of hard won Railroad Retirement benefits.
“The 2012 National Election will be a watershed event for the United States, because either the electorate will choose a federal government of, by and for the people or it will choose a federal government of, by and for capital,” the BLET resolution reads.
In May, the General Executive Board of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters also endorsed President Obama, and the BLET and IBT both endorsed Obama in 2008.
President Obama is only the fourth Presidential candidate the BLET has endorsed in its 149-year history. Founded on May 8, 1863, the Brotherhood’s first Presidential endorsement was Bill Clinton in 1992, followed by Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.
Hosted by Craig Gilchrist and D.B. Kenner, the IWC will conclude tomorrow following a day of educational workshops for BLET members.
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a Division of the Teamsters Rail Conference, has over 55,000 active and retired members.
For the full text of the National Legislative Board’s resolution, click here:
Tuesday, July 31, 2012