Two BLE officers receive labor degrees

At commencement exercises held on June 30, 2001 in Silver Spring, Md., the National Labor College conferred degrees on two BLE local chairmen.

Steven L. Christian, local chairman of BLE Division 524 (Van Buren, Ark.), and Rodney K. Cutlip, local chairman of BLE Division 385 (Toledo), both received Bachelor of Arts degrees in labor studies from the college.

Brother Christian became a BLE member on July 1, 1977. He actually completed his degree from the National Labor College late in 2000, but officially graduated in June. Christian, also the Vice-Chairman of the Arkansas State Legislative Board, has been a union officer for more than 20 years, but always wanted to finish his education. He saw that opportunity in the form of the National Labor College.

"Running trains is a great job, but it gets old after a while," said Christian. "I had always wanted to finish my education and become a better representative for my union. More education increases my effectiveness as an union representative."

Brother Christian is furthering his education by pursuing a Masters in Labor Relations from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Brother Cutlip also is considering pursuing a Masters degree. He joined the BLE on October 1, 1988. After beginning his coursework at the University of Toledo in the 1970s, he saw attending the National Labor College as a way to level the playing field between himself and the carrier's representatives that he often squares off against.

"I decided to arm myself with education. More education means that you have more weapons," said Cutlip. "I think it makes the people I represent more comfortable - knowing that I am equally as educated as the carrier's representatives."

Both of these members have made the Brotherhood proud, according to BLE International President Edward Dubroski.

"These Brothers have set an example for all members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers," said President Dubroski. "They have followed in the footsteps of other BLE members who have blazed a trail by graduating from the National Labor College at the George Meany Center."

Five BLE members have graduated from the National Labor College in the past two years.

Last year, Brothers R.J. Darcy, M.J. Thiellen and R.G. Shaw also graduated from the National Labor College.

From left: In the lobby of the George Meany Center following commencement ceremonies at the National Labor College are International Vice-President William C. Walpert, Division 385 (Toledo, Ohio) Local Chairman Rodney K. Cutlip, Division 524 (Van Buren, Ark.) Local Chairman Steven L. Christian, and BLE International Vice-President & U.S. National Legislative Representative Leroy D. Jones. Over the past two years, five BLE members have earned degrees from the National Labor College.


2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers