James P. Louis is National Vice President of the 53,500-member Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a Division of the Rail Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He was elected by acclamation at the BLET’s Third National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 1, 2014. Vice President Louis also serves as Department Head of the BLET’s Passenger Department, the BLET’s Education and Training Department, and the BLET’s Department of Internal Organizing, Mobilizing and Strategic Planning.
Brother Louis was elected Third Alternate National Vice President at the BLET’s Second National Convention in 2010. Immediately prior to his 2014 election to the Advisory Board, Vice President Louis served as General Chairman of the Conrail SAA/CSXT Northern District General Committee of Adjustment in Buffalo, NY. He first began serving the GCA in 1997 when he was elected to the Alternate Secretary-Treasurer position. He was then elected Secretary-Treasurer in 2004, a position he was reelected to in 2007, and also began service as Alternate General Chairman prior to becoming General Chairman in 2009.
Vice President Louis’s railroad career began when he hired out with Conrail as a trainman on August 6, 1976, in Buffalo, NY. In 1982, he began working in Conrail commuter service as a trainman/conductor in Hoboken, NJ. He earned promotion to locomotive engineer for Conrail on September 9, 1987, at Oak Point, NY.
Vice President Louis first joined the Brotherhood as a member of Division 752 effective December 1, 1987. He transferred to Division 659 and soon became actively involved in serving the membership. He was elected Local Chairman and Secretary-Treasurer of Division 659 in 1989, positions he held continuously until 1997 when he transferred to Division 382. He also represented Division 659 as a delegate to the BLE International Convention in 1996. Vice President Louis transferred his BLET membership once again in 1998 and became a member of Division 421 in Buffalo, NY. In 2001, he was elected to the Local Committee of Adjustment for Division 421, and was elected to serve as Local Chairman in 2004 and again in 2007. In 2006, he again worked as a Delegate representing Division 421 at the BLET’s First National Convention in 2006.
In addition to his General Committee and Division offices, Vice President Louis has been heavily involved in the Brotherhood’s legislative affairs since joining the union more than 30 years ago. He represented Division 659 on the New York State Legislative Board from 1989 through 1997, and then represented Division 421 in that same capacity for several years. He was twice elected Treasurer of the New York State Legislative Board in 2004. He was promoted to serve as Chairman of the New York State Legislative Board in 2008 and held that office until 2010.
Vice President Louis has been active in the BLET’s Eastern Union Meeting Association (EUMA), serving as Arrangements Chairman in 2004, and then as Vice Chairman of the EUMA Standing Committee from 2005 to the present.
In 2001, Vice President Louis was elected 2nd Alternate to the former BLE Board of Appeals. In 2006, he served on the Eastern Steering Committee at the BLET’s First National Convention in Las Vegas. In 2011, Brother Louis served as Eastern Representative on the National Wage/Rule Committee. In 2010 and again in 2014, Vice President Louis served as a member of the Arrangements Committee at the BLET Second National Convention and Third National Convention, respectively. And beginning in 2013, Vice President Louis began serving as a member of the Rail Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) as a member of the BLET’s Crew Fatigue, Risk Management and Two Person Crew Working Groups.
A second-generation railroader, Vice President Louis is proud of his strong union background. His father, Arthur, was a conductor with the New York Central from 1940 to 1968. His brother, Jerry, was a fireman with Penn Central/Contrail who worked as a Local Chairman of the United Transportation Union from 1970 to 1979. His mother, Leona, a union baker, taught Jim the values of unionism. As a young girl, she would toss loaves of bread to striking autoworkers in Flint, Michigan, at the risk of being chased by management guards.
Vice President Louis is a Committeeman for the Town of Tonawanda’s Democratic Party and has served on the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals since 2008. He and his wife Janet have been married for 25 years. They have two sons, Shaun and Christopher, both of whom are Eagle Scouts. Brother Louis himself is a Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor, specializing in Railroading and American Labor badges. He enjoys spending time with family, including the family’s Koi pond and especially with their Yellow Lab, Belle.