Teamsters Unity Conference boosts BLET, BMWED
On May 8, members of the Brotherhood Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) were officially welcomed to the Teamsters during the annual Unity Conference in Las Vegas.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa praised the mergers of the two rail unions and how their leaders put the betterment of their members ahead of their own personal ambitions. "My father, James R. Hoffa, had the idea that the Teamsters should represent all of transportation labor, and these mergers are completely in line with his directive."
Prior to the conference, legislative representatives from both rail unions met to discuss the ways in which they could work together on legislation, and get assistance from the Teamsters Government Affairs Department.
"It's dynamite to have the Teamsters' political clout," said John Tolman, BLET Chief of Staff and Legislative/Political Director.
"I thought the meetings were fantastic," said Craig Gilchrist, a BLET state legislative board chairman from Montana. "This recharged our batteries!"
"We feel very good about being part of the largest transportation union in the world," said Perry Geller, National Secretary-Treasurer of the BMWED. "Each time we have asked, we have received help from the Teamsters. Let's use the IBT to mobilize so we can make a difference on Capitol Hill."
The BMWED and the BLET are both divisions of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Rail Conference, which currently represents more than 70,000 railroad employees.
© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen