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BLET members urged to contact Congress on two critical issues as union lobbies in D.C.

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, October 25 — The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) is urging all members to contact their Representatives and Senators in Congress to support the union’s two most pressing legislative issues: foreign crews operating trains into the United States at the southern U.S./Mexican border, and two-person train crews.

In addition to this nationwide membership lobbying campaign, the Brotherhood has boots on the ground this week in Washington, D.C., as nearly two dozen BLET officers are making face-to-face visits with members of Congress to educate them on the importance of these to safety issues.

Cross-Border Rail Operations

On October 21, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced S. 2652, a bill that supports the BLET’s position on train crew cross border issues with Mexico. The bill would amend title 49 of the United States Code to provide that only citizens or nationals of the United States may operate trains within the United States that originate in Mexico. All members are urged to contact their Senators to urge support for this much needed legislation, which is designed to help protect BLET member jobs. A copy of the bill is available here: https://bit.ly/2P9qkcf .

Senator Blumenthal’s bill comes on the heels of similar legislation introduced over the summer in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House version of the bill, H.R. 3896, also would provide that only citizens or nationals of the United States may operate trains within the United States that originate in Mexico. H.R. 3896, which was introduced by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Chairman of the Railroad Subcommittee, and co-sponsored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

Two-Person Crews

Also, BLET members and their families are urged to contact their Representatives in the House and their Senators to support the Safe Freight Act. H.R. 1748 was introduced in the House by Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and S. 1979 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). With 114 co-sponsors in the House and 12 in the Senate, these bills have appeal to both parties and seek to put a certified engineer and a certified conductor on freight trains in the U.S.

Copies of the two-person crew bills can be found at www.congress.gov:

House version: https://bit.ly/2JH7l5O

Senate version: https://bit.ly/2JHkpYR

To find your Representative’s or Senators’ contact information, please visit:

https://www.house.gov or https://www.senate.gov

Boots On The Ground

On October 22 and 23, nearly two dozen BLET officers converged on the Nation’s Capital to meet in person with members of Congress to lobby on the Mexican cross-border issue and for the Safe Freight Act. This follows significant lobbying efforts previously held in July and August 2019.

Vice President and National Legislative Representative John Tolman lead the BLET lobbyists, along with Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Bob Hagan and Director of Regulatory Affairs Vince Verna. They were accompanied by 19 officers from BLET State Legislative Boards and General Committees of Adjustment representing all areas of the country.

“Regardless of your political party of choice, I urge all BLET members to take a few minutes to call your members of Congress to voice your support for our position on these two critical issues,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “Please help us to protect our jobs, our craft and our future.”

Updates on the issues will be provided as they develop in Washington D.C.

Friday, October 25, 2019
bentley@ble-t.org

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