Hahs new BLE President
On September 27, Don M. Hahs became the 20th President of the BLE in the union's 138-year history.
Delegates at the BLE's Seventh Quinquennial International Convention on September 27 elected Don M. Hahs to the office of International President.
In a run-off election that began on September 26, President Hahs received a 417-211 majority of the votes. An incumbent member of the BLE's Advisory Board, he was first elected to the office of International Vice-President five years ago.
Coming to the Brotherhood's top post was an emotionally draining experience for President Hahs, who nevertheless remained focused on the business at hand.
"There are many pressing issues to be dealt with," said President Hahs, who specifically mentioned obtaining a fair and equitable national contract, the BLE's financial status, and the Brotherhood's sometimes contentious relationship with the United Transportation Union (UTU).
In his acceptance speech, President Hahs took a firm but even-handed stance on the current situation with the UTU.
"We must demonstrate that we can serve the collective memberships of both organizations better by working together," President Hahs said. "We have to find a common ground and stop wasting the memberships' money.
"On the other side of the coin, we'll do whatever we can, with whomever we can to protect our right to exist. If we have to fight, I will personally be on the Kansas City Southern with every other ID officer and we will fight to win."
There were many closely-contested races during the convention, and nine of the 42 races were determined by run-off elections. A complete list of election results is published on page 2 of this issue.
Delegates made a clean-sweep of the BLE's Executive Committee and elected three new officers to fill the Brotherhood's three highest ranking offices.
Brother Hahs is the 20th president in the 138-year history of the BLE. He is from Kingwood, Texas, and has been a BLE member since 1975. He was elected to the office of International Vice-President in 1996 and spent 16 years as General Chairman of the Southern Pacific-Eastern Lines General Committee of Adjustment. He is a member of BLE Division 566 (Del Rio, Texas).
The BLE's new First Vice-President & Alternate President is Edward Rodzwicz. He was elected to the office of International Vice-President in 1996, and immediately prior to that, he served the Brotherhood in the position of Special Representative since 1988. He was elected to the office of Alternate Vice-President in 1991. As First Vice-President & Alternate President, Brother Rodzwicz assumes command of the Brotherhood's second-highest office. He comes from the Eastern region of the U.S., having served on the Conrail General Committee of Adjustment in a variety of offices throughout the years. He is from Pittsburgh, Pa., and he joined the BLE in 1977. He belongs to Division 325 (Wilkinsburg, Pa.).
William C. Walpert was elected to the office of International Vice-President in 1996, and now - following his election to the office of General Secretary-Treasurer in Miami - he serves as the Brotherhood's chief financial officer. Immediately prior to becoming Vice-President in 1996, he was elected to the office of First Alternate Vice-President.
Brother Walpert will continue to be in charge of a number of BLE departments, including the BLE Safety Task Force, the Department of Internal Mobilizing, Organizing & Strategic Planning, and the Education & Training Department. He joined the BLE in 1973 and is off the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe's St. Louis & San Francisco line, having served as its General Chairman from 1984-1992. He is a member of BLE Division 604 (Sherman, Texas).
The members of the new Advisory Board are:
Brothers Hahs, Rodzwicz and Walpert were all incumbent Vice-Presidents who moved higher up on the Advisory Board as a result of the elections in Miami.
Congratulations to Brothers Sorrow, McPherson and Hallé, who were reelected by acclamation. Brothers Cassidy, Radek and Hucker fended-off challengers win reelection to their current spots. Finally, congratulations to Brothers Geiger, Speagle and Pruitt, who are the newest members of the BLE's Advisory Board.
© 2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers