BLE announces formation of Retired Members Association
At the International Western Convention held in Denver, BLE International President Edward Dubroski on May 31 announced the formation of the union's Retired Members Association (RMA).
"The Retired Members Association will provide retired BLE members an organized voice on the key issues of the day, and will work with the AFL-CIO and its new Alliance of Retired Americans," said Dubroski. "But, most importantly, the BLE Retired Members' Association will be composed of, by and for retired BLE members."
In order to get the RMA up and running, Dubroski has asked former BLE International President Ron McLaughlin to act as Interim Chairman of the group.
"There are more than 20,000 retired BLE members in the United States and Canada," said McLaughlin. "Up to this point, we haven't had the ability to speak with a single, unified voice on the issues that concern us. The Retired Members' Association will enable us to join together and -- as an active part of the BLE -- fight as a unified force to advance our common interests."
Recently, the AFL-CIO announced the formation of the Alliance of Retired Americans (ARA) in an effort to organize and mobilize retired union members and their families so that they can be an effective political force on issues of concern to retired and working Americans.
McLaughlin said that when President Dubroski first asked him to lead RMA he was eager to say do so.
"I recognized the promise that the RMA could hold for retired BLE members and all railroaders," said McLaughlin. "I want to congratulate Brother Ed for putting the BLE's resources behind this effort."
McLaughlin said that during the next few months the RMA will be contacting every retired BLE member and will begin building the structure for the new organization.
"Retired members share many 'bread and butter' issues with the active membership," said McLaughlin, "including keeping up with the increased cost of living, to rising medical and prescription costs, to making sure that the Railroad Retirement fund grows to safeguard our pensions. And retired members have to deal with these concerns with the added burden of living on a fixed income."
He continued: "Our retirees can make a difference in many ways.
We can help in the fight for stronger legislation and regulation. Our numbers
can add to the power of mobilization. And we can provide support and mentoring
to active officers. If you are a retiree, please take advantage of this
invitation to reinforce your commitment to the BLE. And, if you are an active
member, please bring this message back to your division, and urge your retirees
to join the Association."
© 2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers