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George Hucker, former BLE-Canada Vice President, 1943-2018

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, November 23 — Thomas George Hucker, former BLE International Vice President and National Legislative Representative-Canada, has passed away. He was 75 years old.

Brother Hucker began his railway career in 1966, working as a yardman for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Fort William, Ontario. He earned his promotion to engineer in 1975 and joined BLE Division 243 (Thunder Bay, Ontario) in 1976. He served his Division as Local Chairman from 1980 until 1986, when he began serving as General Chairman of the Canadian Pacific-Prairie & Pacific Regions General Committee of Adjustment.

Brother Hucker was first elected to the BLE Advisory Board at the Fifth Quinquennial Convention in 1991, and due to his strong work ethic and dedication, was reelected at subsequent International conventions in 1996 and 2001.

Coinciding with the historic merger between the BLE and IBT in 2004, and the formation of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) as part of Teamsters Canada, Brother Hucker had the honor of being the very first TCRC Vice President and National Legislative Director. He was instrumental in the formation of the TCRC and the successful merging of the railway running trades crafts throughout Canada. Brother Hucker completed his long and exemplary union career at the inaugural TCRC convention in 2006, and he retired at that time.

“It is through the hard work of Brother Hucker that so many of our union Sisters and Brothers received the highest level of representation, and we all are a little bit better off because of the work of Brother Hucker and his dedication to the union and to the union membership,” TCRC President Douglas Finnson said. “George made many, many friends and was not afraid to be confrontational if that is what it took to get the job done for the members. His unique slang and his epic stories are legendary and many of our current officers remember ‘Hucker stories’ and recall how unique George was in so many ways. There will never be another George Hucker, and collectively we wish to commemorate his contribution to so many union members lives, and together mourn his passing.”

Brother Hucker attended Lake Head University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science. As a guest lecturer, he taught collective bargaining, conflict resolution, and arbitration courses at Lake Head University.

Brother Hucker was a driving force behind the Canadian Alertness Assurance Project (CANALERT ''''95), a scientific study to combat and reduce on-the-job fatigue among rail workers. The program identified a number of fatigue countermeasures as an alternative to the traditional regulatory approach to rail safety. Over time, CANALERT ’95 established clear guidelines for fatigue management and led to the Canadian government’s adoption of national work/rest guidelines for running trades employees in 2003. These guidelines have helped reduce fatigue-related accidents and have helped save lives.

“Without a doubt, countless accidents, injuries and deaths have been prevented thanks to the efforts of Brother George Hucker,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “Though they may not know his name, many engineers and trainmen working today owe a debt of gratitude to Brother George Hucker for making the railroad a safer place. On behalf of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, I extend our deepest condolences to the Hucker family during this difficult time.”

Besides being an active union member, Brother Hucker also belonged to the Grand Order of Elks. He was born on February 18, 1943 in Thunder Bay. He and wife Gabriele were married on July 31, 1971 and have two daughters, Elizabeth and Katherine.

The family is currently in the process of making funeral arrangements, and that information will be made available once plans are finalized.

Friday, November 23, 2018

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