George Newman reelected Mass. State Legislative Board Chairman

George Newman was reelected by acclamation as Chairman of the BLET Massachusetts State Legislative Board at quadrennial meetings on February 21. Brother Newman is a member of BLET Division 57 in Boston and he joined the BLE on August 1, 1984.

Dan Lauzon, Division 57 (Boston), was elected by acclamation to continue as 1st Vice Chairman; A.J. Murphy, Division 57 (Boston) was elected by acclamation as 2nd Vice Chairman; Joey DeBartolomao, Division 112 (Greenfield, Mass.), was elected by acclamation as Secretary-Treasurer; Steve King, Division 312 (Boston), was elected by acclamation as Alternate Secretary-Treasurer; and Tom Hebert, Division 439 (Allston, Mass.), was elected by acclamation as Alternate Second Vice Chairman.

Brother Walter J. Nutter, long time Secretary-Treasurer of the Board, declined to be nominated again as he is planning to retire before the current four-year term expires. Brother Nutter, a member of BLET Division 57 (Boston), has served the Board as an Alternate S-T and S-T since its inception in 1991.

The delegates enjoyed informative presentations from a number of distinguished speakers.

U.S. Congressman John Tierney (D-MA, Sixth District) spoke about the challenges labor faces on Capitol Hill and the importance of the upcoming elections. He said it is important to elect a labor-friendly candidate because the President makes so many decisions that impact labor. As an example, he said the next President will be able to appoint labor-friendly judges to the U.S. Supreme Court.

John Tolman, BLET Vice President and National Legislative Representative, stressed the importance of the BLET PAC fund and the upcoming Presidential elections in his address to the delegates.

Tom Pontolillo, the BLET's Director of Regulatory Affairs, also addressed the delegates and gave a detailed overview of new Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations regarding switches, derails and shoving moves. He told the delegates that there are some issues with the new regulations that are under appeal, both by labor and the carriers, so the regulation is not in final form yet. He said parts of the regulation are to become effective July 2008.

Les Fiorenzo, FRA Deputy Regional Administrator, Region 1, also spoke briefly regarding the new regulation. He emphasized that while railroad employees may be fined individually by FRA for violations, such fines will only occur if the employee made a "willful" violation.

Robert Naumes, BLET Designated Legal Counsel (DLC), spoke about the advantages to railroad workers using the DLC.

Harry Hoglander, Chairman, National Mediation Board (NMB), addressed delegates for nearly an hour. He explained why the legislative process is so important, particularly the accessibility it provides. He also talked about the under-funding at NMB and the resulting case backlog. He discussed the Amtrak negotiations and how they dragged on for eight years, largely due to Amtrak's funding problems.

Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Bobby Haynes addressed the delegates. Although the BLET is no longer affiliated with the AFL-CIO at the national level, the Mass. State Legislative Board has an agreement with the AFL-CIO State Federation to cooperate whenever possible. Brother Newman is a Vice President with that State Fed and specializing on transportation issues.

From left: John Tolman, BLET Vice President & National Legislative Representative; George Newman, Massachusetts SLB Chairman; Harry Hoglander, Labor Member, National Mediation Board; Dan Lauzon, Massachusetts SLB 1st Vice Chairman; and Tom Pontolillo, BLET Director of Regulatory Affairs.



© 2008 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen