Why you should be a regular contributor to the BLET-PAC

By Sereena Hogan
Second Vice President, BLET Auxiliary

As a BLET spouse or family member, you may already be familiar with the BLET Political Action Committee (PAC) Fund. Many railroad families are already contributing to the fund. However, there are many who are not. Perhaps you don't even know what the PAC Fund is or what it's used for.

According to the law, corporations, trade associations and labor organizations may not contribute directly to federal candidates, either by dues or otherwise. A PAC is a legal, approved, straightforward and efficient method for a group of like-minded individuals to communicate with legislators and help them financially by pooling their campaign contributions. PACs make it possible for groups of individuals to inform and educate legislators more effectively than if contributors acted alone.

Therefore, the BLET has created its own political action committee, the BLET PAC Fund, to raise money to help elect candidates for Congress who will represent our interests. Having a strong PAC enables us to have a voice in issues affecting railroad employees, retirees, and their families in Washington, D.C., and in policy decisions being made every day that can impact all of us. The BLET PAC contributes to the election campaigns of pro-labor candidates who understand the issues of importance to the railroad industry. Our PAC is bipartisan, contributing to both Republicans and Democrats who support our issues. Some of those issues include railroad retirement, Amtrak funding, Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), railroad security and railroad safety.

The Carriers spend a huge amount of money in Washington to influence members of Congress and push their anti-worker plans, outspending working families on politics by more than 15-1. Through grassroots political action and aggressive lobbying on Capitol Hill and in State Houses and City Halls across America, labor has stopped some of the worst attacks on working people.

With the anti-labor sentiment of our current administration, it is more important than ever that we support those in elected office who support us on issues that are important to us and our families. It is imperative that we react when important issues arise. It is just as important for us to get in the game early and help set the agenda. The PAC enables us to do just that. Even with the campaign finance scandals in Washington, and the efforts to pass significant campaign finance reforms that would help level the playing field for the average American, the fact is that without PAC money to help elect and re-elect labor- and railroad-friendly candidates, we would have an even harder time bringing our issues before Congress.  

All PACs are regulated by the Federal Election Commission, and the BLET must disclose where every penny of each dollar is contributed. All of the contributions go directly to candidates running for the U.S. House or Senate.

I realize that many of you, like me, are in charge of your family budget. We are all stretched to the limits, especially those of us who are still supporting growing children or taking care of aging parents. Please take a moment to review your finances and see if there is some way that you can see clear to make even a small monthly contribution of $10 to $15 to the PAC. Then have your spouse contact his or her Division Secretary-Treasurer, who is authorized to initiate a payroll deduction for your contribution.

Do it today so you won't forget about it. The outcome of the upcoming mid-term elections in November will make a big difference in whether our issues are seriously considered over the next two years.

We must work hard to get labor-friendly candidates elected this November!



© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen