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Denver joins BLE National Mobilization Network

DENVER ­ More than 100 locomotive engineers and their spouses attended the BLE's Mobilization Rally in Denver, on June 3. This was the sixth successful mobilization rally and it drew from 19 BLE divisions and various railroads including Amtrak, Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (former C&S), Union Pacific and the Denver & Rio Grande Western.

BLE International President Clarence Monin welcomes locomotive engineers to the Mobilization Rally.

The BLE National Mobilization Team recapped the April 28 Operation Thanos March & Rally held in Washington. A photographic display showed many of the 500 engineers and their family members who marched to make it clear to the railroads that, "We are not willing to die for the railroads anymore."

International President Clarence Monin explained to attendees, in no uncertain terms, that our union's stance is to be "proactive rather than reactive, and to act in an intelligently militant manner" by strengthening the membership's mobilization process.

"We are not going to tolerate unsafe working conditions on our country's rails anymore," said Brother Monin. And he told the crowd that the BLE will conduct a Safety Strike the next time an engineer dies in a train accident that the railroad can prevent. (Editor's note: Following the death of a CSXT engineer only four days after this Denver mobilization, the BLE struck the railroad on June 12. See page one for details).

Accompanying the BLE president from the International Office were General Secretary-Treasurer Russell Bennett, International Vice-President William Walpert, Assistant to the International President Dave Ditzel and Education & Training Coordinator Larry James.

BLE Vice-President and Director of the National Mobilization Team William C. Walpert addresses the group.

National Mobilization Team host Ken Kroeger was instrumental in planning and organizing the Denver rally, and he acknowledged "the help and support" of Denver Division 186's Mike Weston. "His enthusiasm for mobilization was the inspiration for our coming to Denver to conduct this event."

"Brother Weston organized a team consisting of Division 186's C&S Local Chairman Gary Wamhoff and UP Local Chairman Jack Kirby, BNSF Division 256 Local Chairman Willie Mitchell, DRGW Division 451 Local Chairman Kip Davis, and BNSF Division 940 Local Chairman Myran Moyano," said Kroeger, who belongs to Tucson Division 28. "The took on the responsibilities of many of the details that were necessary in organizing this successful rally."

General chairmen attending were Austin Morrison, BNSF; Carl James, D&RGW; Michael Young, UP; and "Mac" McDowell, Amtrak Western Region. BLErs gave a spirited round of applause to Clyde Clark, a former general chairman for the C&S.

The next day, Kroeger and Nick Hemmesch, another member of the National Mobilization Team, conducted a mobilization training class for Denver area engineers. They were joined by President Monin, and later the three Brothers attended the regular monthly meeting of Division 186.

The Denver rally is one of several that are planned for the second half of 1997 across the United States, in an effort to put into place a national network for possible future BLE actions and related mobilizing efforts, explained Brother Walpert.

"We're continuing to build a national mobilization network in an aggressive and timely manner," Walpert said.

"Denver is another key to the BLE's ability to take action quickly, either locally, regionally or on a nationwide basis."

Look for upcoming announcements in this newsletter and on the BLE's website: ·

BLE General Secretary-Treasurer Russell Bennett

BLE Amtrak-Western Region General Chairman C.A. McDowell

Attendees listen intently to one of the speakers.

Mike Weston of BLE Colorado Division 186 with his wife Connie. Brother Weston was instrumental in bringing the National Mobilization Team to Denver.

BLE Education & Training Dept. Coordinator Larry James, also a member of the National Mobilization Team, delivers a presentation to the audience.

Ken Kroeger of Division 28 receives a shoulder bag monogrammed with the BLE logo from Vice-President Bill Walpert.

President Monin talks with engineers the day after the Denver Rally at a special mobilization training class for Denver area engineers.

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