The following is a statement by Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa and General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen:
“We want to congratulate the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen on attaining 150 years of strong union representation for countless hardworking men and women in the rail industry across North America.
“As America’s earliest labor union, the BLET’s perseverance guided and protected the employees who worked the railroads, creating the early foundations of our country’s economy. No amount of praise should be spared when congratulating you on 150 years of solid representation. As the first union to hammer out a contract with the railroads, the BLET set the standard for others to follow. Teamsters are honored to count BLET members among our Teamster brothers and sisters.
“James R. Hoffa, was born 100 years ago this year on February 14, 1913. Part of his legacy was realized when you chose to affiliate with our union in 2004, thus joining the most powerful union in North America and the union that truly represents the entire transportation and product-delivery system. From port workers to truck drivers to airline pilots, and now with the loyal membership of the BLET within our great union, we truly are the most comprehensive labor organization when it comes to passenger and product transportation from both coasts.
“We salute your founding President, William D. Robinson, for his vision and the thousands of rank-and-file members of the BLET who have stepped forward over the years to continue the legacy of strong leadership and membership protection that have been hallmarks of your union.
“The men and women of the BLET are among the most dedicated members in the Teamsters Union. Thank you for that, and keep up the good work. We look forward to the successes ahead in the next 150 years of the BLET.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @Teamsters.
At a Senate subcommittee hearing on April 17, John Tolman, Vice President and National Legislative Representative of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), made a strong case for the U.S. to make a major investment in Amtrak — particularly along the Northeast Corridor — for the expansion of service and high-speed rail.
Tolman outlined for the Senators how congestion on our nation’s highways has increased, and that by 2020 more than 90 percent of them will be at or over capacity. He testified before the Surface Transportation Subcommittee of the Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
“The solution to these problems lies right before our eyes: improvement to passenger rail funding on the Northeast Corridor is necessary for the expansion of service,” Tolman said. “We should try and catch up with the percentage of funding that Europe and Asian countries have allocated.”
The primary vehicle for funding would be the reauthorization of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) which the Teamsters Rail Conference supports as an answer for Amtrak to attain stable, long-term funding levels.
“Ridership trends demonstrate that people are willing to opt to take trains in areas with reliable and frequent service,” Tolman said. “Unionized men and women working on the railroads are at work every day to ensure the safety and well-being of rail passengers. But, because continued funding for Amtrak operations is still tentative, we must recognize the importance of rail travel and how it reduces pollution and congestion on our highways.”
BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce thanked Vice President Tolman for representing the Brotherhood at the hearing.
- 1 of 19