Western General Chairmen elect Priester

General Chairman Mike Preister (CP Rail-U.S./ Metra North / Indiana Southern Railroad) was elected Chairman of the BLET's Western General Chairmen's Association (WGCA) at meetings in Las Vegas on May 2. He was elected by acclamation.

"The Western General Chairmen's Association prides itself in independent thinking with a team approach to the issues facing our members today," Priester said. "We pledge to continue in this time-tested tradition."

Also elected by acclamation were First Vice Chairman Dennis Pierce (BNSF/MRL General Chairman); Secretary-Treasurer Rick Gibbons (BNSF-Former STL-SF); and Alternate Secretary-Treasurer Pat Williams (BNSF-former AT&SF). Rounding out the Executive Committee are Tim Donnigan (UP-Western Region) and John Koonce (Illinois Central).

WGCA members kicked off their meetings on April 30 at a reception for Teamster guests Jim Hoffa, General President, Tom Keegel, General Secretary-Treasurer, Ken Hall, Parcel and Small Package Division Director, and John Murphy, International Vice President and Director of the Rail Conference. President Hoffa addressed the group, and Chairman Pierce presented him and GST Keegel with commemorative BLET pocket watches.

On May 1 and 2, BLET National President Don Hahs updated the General Chairmen on the status of the tentative national contract. First Vice President Ed Rodzwicz gave the Chairmen a report on Rail Conference issues. National Secretary-Treasurer Bill Walpert provided the Chairmen with a report on BLET finances. National Legislative Representative John Tolman spoke about political issues, the BLET PAC fund, and the Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007.

BLET Vice Presidents Dale McPherson, Merle Geiger, Lee Pruitt, Steve Speagle and Paul Sorrow were also in attendance, but did not address the group.

The General Chairmen also spent time in roundtable discussions to develop strategies and possible solutions to common issues on their various properties.

Outgoing Chairman Pierce did not seek relection to lead the WGCA. "Our practice has been to share the chairmanship with the body, and having held it for three terms, I deemed it was time to step aside," Pierce said.

Incoming Chairman Priester said, "It is an honor to be elected by my peers, Brothers, and true friends. I would also like to recognize the efforts of outgoing Chairman Pierce."


Dennis Pierce (right), outgoing Chairman of the Western General Chairman's Association, presents Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa with a BLET pocket watch during the meeting's opening session.



© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen