Delegates OK changes to Constitution

Bringing a new level of energy and vitality to the BLE's top spot, newly-elected International President Don M. Hahs spent his first day in office reviewing several changes to the union's Constitution & Bylaws, which were approved by delegates at the BLE's Seventh Quinquennial International Convention.

Of significant note is a change to Section 1(e) of the Constitution, which governs mergers of the BLE with other labor organizations. The amended Section 1(e) details specific balloting procedures and timelines the International President must follow when considering a merger and/or affiliation.

In other business, delegates approved a dues increase of $6 per month. It is the first increase in International dues since 1992, and will keep the BLE in the black while improving the level of service it provides to its members.

Among other items, the new income generated by the dues increase will be used to raise the number of local chairman and secretary-treasurer training programs offered by the BLE, said newly-elected General Secretary-Treasurer Bill Walpert, the union's top financial officer.

President Hahs also announced that income generated from the dues increase will assist in the formation of a new Passenger Rail Department at the International Division.

The new department would be responsible for lending assistance to all passenger and commuter rail General Committees of Adjustment on a variety of issues, such as contract negotiations and enforcement of existing contracts. President Hahs will soon announce who will head the new department and how it will be structured.

A third major revision to the BLE Constitution & Bylaws calls on the BLE's National Legislative Office to provide up to $25,000 annually to the Grand International Auxiliary for assistance in Congressional lobbying efforts. The money will be used in a variety of ways, such as letter-writing campaigns and covering expenses of GIA officers who lobby Congress to support key issues of importance to BLE members and their families.

In his acceptance speech on September 27, President Hahs pledged to foster a strong relationship between the BLE and GIA as he recognized Immediate Past President Ruth E. Pillman-Windham and newly-elected GIA International President Onita Wayland.


2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers