Dennis R. Pierce is National President of the 58,000-member Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a Division of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He is the first Brotherhood president to win election by direct vote of the membership since the Organization was founded in 1863 in an historic election certified on December 16, 2010. He was initially elevated to the Brotherhood’s highest office on July 1, 2010, following the retirement of National President Paul T. Sorrow. Most recently, he was reelected by acclamation to serve another four-year term as National President during the BLET’s Third National Convention on October 1, 2014.
BLET President Pierce was also elected by acclamation to serve as President of the Teamsters Rail Conference on June 24, 2010, and was re-elected to additional four-year terms on May 4, 2014, and May 2, 2018. The Teamsters Rail Conference is made up of two Craft Divisions, BLET and BMWED.
Immediately prior to his elevation to the BLET’s top post, he served the Brotherhood as First Vice President and Alternate President, a position he was elected to on December 17, 2009. Prior to that, he served the union as a National Vice President assigned to assist the Brotherhood on the CSX, CN and BNSF properties.
He was elected to the position of First Alternate Vice President at the BLET’s First Quadrennial Convention in 2006, and was promoted to the office of National Vice President on April 8, 2008.
Prior to his service with the National Division, Brother Pierce served as General Chairman of the Burlington Northern- Northlines/MRL Montana Rail Link GCofA, a position he assumed when then-General Chairman Merle Geiger was elected as a BLE International Vice President in 2001. Brother Pierce was reelected by acclamation as General Chairman in 2004 and 2007 and held that position until elevating to National Vice President in April of 2008. The BN Northlines/MRL GCofA is the BLET’s largest GCA representing 3,500 members from 45 separate BLET Divisions on three railroads.
As General Chairman, Brother Pierce participated in many on-property negotiations with BNSF, the most important of which lead to on-property addendums to the National Agreement settlements in 2003 and 2007. He was also assigned to the BLET Wage and Rule team on MRL in 2001 and led that group during the 2006 contract negotiations. Brother Pierce also served as Chairman of the BLET Western General Chairmen’s Association for several years, serving as a member of the BLET National Wage and Rules team in the round of bargaining that lead to the 2007 National Agreement. Brother Pierce was a delegate to the 1996 and 2006 National Conventions and was also a BLET delegate to the 2006, 2011 and 2016 Teamster International Conventions.
Before his elevation to General Chairman, Brother Pierce served as a Vice General Chairman in various capacities. He was assigned to the Montana Rail Link property as well as the Burlington Northern property where he managed the on-property handling of time claims, discipline claims, protective benefits as well as the proceeding of those issues to arbitration. He was also assigned to manage seniority disputes and merger related negotiations and arbitration during the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe merger.
President Pierce began his railroad career as a Burlington Northern Maintenance of Way employee in 1977 in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1979, he transferred to a clerical position with Burlington Northern. In 1980, he transferred again to the firemen’s craft and earned promotion to locomotive engineer in 1981.
President Pierce started as a union officer at the grassroots level, working his way up through all of the levels of the Organization. Brother Pierce joined BLET Division 98 in Lincoln, Nebraska, on April 1, 1981 and became Local Chairman of Division 98 in 1991. In 1992, he was elected as 2nd Alternate Vice General Chairman of the BN Northlines/MRL General Committee of Adjustment. In 1995, he was elected as a full time 3rd Vice General Chairman for the BN Northlines/MRL GCofA and he and his family relocated from Nebraska to the GCofA Office in St. Paul, Minnesota. Brother Pierce was elected as 1st Vice General Chairman in 1998 and relocated again to Ft. Worth, Texas.
President Pierce was born on July 23, 1958. He and his wife, Lori, were married on July 13, 1979 and have three children, Travis, Matt and Tessa. In his free time, Brother Pierce enjoys skiing and golf, and -- most important for any Nebraska native -- college football.