Brown elected Chairman of Minnesota State Legislative Board

David Brown of BLET Division 517 was elected Chairman of the Minnesota State Legislative Board by acclamation on September 28 at the Board's Quadrennial Session in Minneapolis.

Brother Brown hired on with the Burlington Northern in 1971 in the operating crafts and became a locomotive engineer in 1993. He is currently a Regional Trainer/instructor for Hazmat, Radiological and Security with the National Labor College / George Meany Center.

Brother Brown will serve a four-year term in accordance with the Board's bylaws. Also elected by acclamation were: First Vice Chairman Keith Stauber (Division 163); 2nd Vice Chairman Wally Czerwinski (Division 202); Secretary Treasurer Mark Anderson (Division 333); and Alternate Secretary Treasurer Rick Johnson (Division 357).

"As a major priority, I will work to enhance the education of our Division LRs and our members," the newly-elected Chairman said. "This Board will dynamically promote the legislative issues that will advance the safety and health of rail labor.

"We have a diverse and experienced group of rails on the Board that I am confident will represent and serve these interests. Through the training and assistance our LR's will receive, we can impress upon the membership the significance of representing the BLE-T in local, state and national union issues."

Representing the BLET National Division at the meeting were: Vice-President and National Legislative Representative John Tolman; Vice-President Dale McPherson; and Coordinator of Education and Training Ken Kroeger.

Vice President Tolman discussed the state of unions in the country and current rail bills before Congress. He also presented a plaque to outgoing MNSLB Chairman Tom Perkovich thanking him for his years of dedicated service to the Board.

Brother Perkovich did not seek reelection due to his upcoming retirement.

"I got involved in the BLE-T at the Division level and through that involvement I was able to do things during my railroad career that I never thought I would be part of," he said. "Hopefully, through that involvement, I have made a difference for BLET members."

North Dakota SLB Chairman Mike Muscha and ex-Colorado SLB Chairman George Last were also in attendance. Brother Muscha gave a presentation on the importance of contributing to the PAC fund. (As a sidenote, if you are not already a contributor to the PAC Fund, please get in touch with your Division LR who can tell you how to sign up.)

Sereena Hogan, 1st Vice President and Legislative Representative of the BLET Auxiliary, gave a presentation explaining the purpose and mission of the Auxiliary and what it can do to help BLET members. She encouraged every division LR to take the information packets she distributed back to their divisions to make every effort to get an Auxiliary started in their area.

The delegates had a very packed agenda. Besides the normal business there were several presentation.

Dave Brown gave a condensed version of the National Labor College's hazmat workshop.

Shanta Schmitt from the Railroad Retirement Board, delivered a presentation on what is new with regard to Railroad Retirement.

John Smullen from the Federal Railroad Administration gave an overview of the FRA, Hours of Service, Locomotive Horn Sounding and SACP and SOFA.

Randy Croce from the University of Minnesota gave a presentation on the history of labor and focused on the history of the BLET. Tom Dwyer, from the National Association of Retired and Veteran Railway Employees, gave a presentation on the importance of keeping retired members involved in legislative matters.

During a special ceremony during the concluding banquet, the State Legislative Board gave Brother Perkovich a large framed painting of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, the famous Great Lakes freighter that sank in Lake Superior on November 10, 1975, claiming the lives of 29 men. Brother Perkovich actually worked on and sailed on the Edmund Fitzgerald after completing his service with the armed forces. The ship was immortalized by the Gordon Lightfoot ballad, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."



© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen