140 years!

Resolutions commemorate BLE's 140th anniversary

Resolutions were introduced before the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives on May 8 in honor of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers' 140th anniversary.

Also, a third resolution to honor the BLE's was enacted by the city of Marshall, Mich., where the BLE was organized 140 years ago. It declared May 4-10 "Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Week."

Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle introduced resolution S. 136, which was co-sponsored by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio).

The Senate resolution honors the BLE for its many accomplishments and proclaims that, "the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers is an extraordinary union whose leadership still works hard every day - just as it did in 1863 - to protect members' health and safety, to guard their financial interests, to give them an effective voice on the job, and to ensure dignity, respect and security for railway workers in the workplace."

The Senate also "expects that the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers will continue its dedicated work and will have an even greater impact in the 21st century and beyond, and will enhance the standard of living and work environment for rail workers and other laborers in generations to come."

Also on May 8, Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced a similar resolution in the House of Representatives.

"We are grateful to these members on Congress for honoring us on our 140th anniversary," BLE International President Don Hahs said. "This legislation is an accomplishment for all BLE members and is an acknowledgment of the BLE's hard-fought efforts for better representation of its members and for better working conditions for all men and women."

In addition to the House and Senate resolutions, a third resolution to honor the BLE's 140th anniversary was enacted by the city of Marshall, Mich., where the BLE was organized in 1863. The Mayor of Marshall signed the resolution declaring May 4-10 "Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Week."

Mayor John Miller declared that "because the organization's roots were laid in Marshall and has branched across North America," the week would be dedicated to the organization. Twelve Michigan Central Railroad locomotive engineers founded the BLE in Marshall on May 8, 1863.

"We are proud of our history in the City of Marshall and thank Mayor Miller for helping us celebrate this major milestone," President Hahs said. "The BLE's 140th anniversary is an historic achievement and we are pleased that Marshall has recognized it."

The home of John C. "Yankee" Thompson, one of the BLE's founding fathers, is a historical landmark in Marshall. The house at 663 West Hanover Street is where the engineers met in April 1863 and spearheaded the efforts to found the organization. Throughout the years, many BLE members and leaders have visited the historical home, including during the 1996 International Convention in Detroit.

The BLE is the oldest existing labor organization in North America.



© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers