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GTW General Chairman John Karakian elected by acclamation to eighth straight term

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, August 16 — General Chairman John M. Karakian was reelected by acclamation to his eighth consecutive term of office at the BLET’s CN-Grand Trunk Western (GTW) General Committee of Adjustment quadrennial meeting in Novi, Mich., on August 14, 2019.

Brother Karakian, a member of Division 122 (Port Huron, Mich.), first joined the Brotherhood on June 1, 1977. He began serving as General Chairman in 1992, when he replaced outgoing General Chairman Paul Hicks, which makes him the longest serving General Chairman in the BLET.

Also elected by acclamation were: Vice General Chairman Brian Miscikowski, Local Chairman of Division 850 (Flat Rock, Mich.); Secretary-Treasurer James La Budde, Vice Local Chairman of Division 33 (Battle Creek, Mich.); and Alternate Secretary-Treasurer Chris Hicks, President of Division 33 (Battle Creek, Mich.).

Representing the BLET National Division at the meeting was National Vice President Mike Twombly.

“For nearly 30 years now, Brother John Karakian has been one of hardest working and most dedicated General Chairmen in our great Brotherhood,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “I congratulate and thank Brother Karakian and all officers of the Grand Trunk Western for their willingness to serve the BLET membership.”

Additional members in attendance were: Gerry Pesce, Local Chairman of Division 650 (Durand, Mich.); James Vandendries, Local Chairman of Division 920 (Pontiac, Mich.); Derek Burnside, Local Chairman of Division 122 (Port Huron, Mich.); and Chad Tedder, Local Chairman of Division 33 (Battle Creek, Mich.).

Brother Karakian hired out in 1974 as a tower operator for the Penn Central (which later became Conrail) in Detroit, Mich. On March 10, 1977, he moved to the GTW where he hired out as a fireman in Pontiac, Mich. He qualified to work as a GTW yard engineer on June 30, 1978, and qualified to perform service as a GTW road engineer on February 25, 1981. Brother Karakian thanked President Pierce and the National Division for their help over the last four years, and for appointing Vice President Twombly to assist the GCA.

The GTW GCA is proud of the significant role its forefathers played in the founding of our Brotherhood more than 150 years ago. The Grand Trunk was one of the five original railroads which sent a delegate, B. Northrup, to meet in Detroit, Mich., with 18 other delegates for four days, beginning on May 5, 1863, resulting in the formation of the original Brotherhood of the Footboard, later to become the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

The GTW GCA is comprised of five Divisions and represents approximately 200 locomotive engineers who operate over 700 miles of track predominantly in Michigan. The GTW’s main corridor is from Port Huron, Mich., to Chicago, but also has operations in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and the province of Ontario, Canada.

Friday, August 16, 2019

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