BLE-T Division 622

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BLET New Recap Dec 8th
Dec 08, 2023

The BLET exists to promote and protect the rights, interests, and safety of its members through solidarity, aggressive representation, and education.


December 8, 2023

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BLET locomotive engineers ratify new contract with 30% wage increase

On Wednesday, December 6, BLET members ratified a new seven-year collective bargaining agreement with Amtrak by a 550-479 vote of the 1,029 (73%) ballots cast. BLET represents more than 1,400 locomotive engineers who operate Amtrak’s passenger and commuter trains over its 21,000-mile, 46-state route system. 
The contract provides full retroactive payments dating to July 1, 2022, and will run through 2028. Highlights of the deal include: 
• 30% general wage increase (34.12% compounded); 
• 10 weeks of paid parental leave; 
• a significant increase in away-from-home expenses; 
• significant improvement to vacation arrangements in PTO (33 days); 
• 90 minute instructor engineer allowance; 
• improvement to bereavement leave, transitioning from 3 calendar days to 3 working days; 
• addition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday; and 
• double the current certification allowance.
General Chairman Mark B. Kenny thanked the entire Amtrak Executive Committee for their efforts in negotiating the deal: Vice Chairman P.W. DarcySecretary-Treasurer B.J. ClearyEastern Regional Chairman J.J. O’NeillMidwest Regional Chairman G.L. Perez; and Western Regional Chairman C.M. Skinner. General Chairman Kenny also thanked National Vice President Jim Louis for his help throughout the negotiating process. 
TrueBallot, Inc., conducted the contract vote. 

Wrapping up 2023, planning ahead for 2024

BLET Advisory Board at National Division headquarters on December 6, 2023, from left: G.D. Best, VP; P.M. Semenek, VP; J.P. Louis, VP; J.A. Holdcraft, VP; P.T. Driscoll, Trustee; D.P. Estes, NST; E.A. Hall, National President; M.L. Wallace, First VP; R.C. Gibbons, VP; W.P. Lyons, VP; V.G. Verna, VP & NLR; L.R. Fannon, VP; and K.J. Bagby, Trustee.

The BLET Advisory Board held its final meeting of 2023 to wrap up loose ends and make preparations for the year ahead. The Advisory Board is composed of the 14 highest-ranking elected officers in the union, and is the chief policy making body of the BLET between conventions. 

Setting the agenda for 2024
National Legislative Board's 2023 annual meeting, from left: Cory Runion, Region 4; Brendan Sullivan, Director of Political Affairs; Herb Harris, Region 1; B.J. Trumble, Region 3; Vince Verna, VP & NLR; Eddie Hall, National President; Mark Wallace, First Vice President; Shane Hubbard, NASLBC Chairman; and Wayne Denson, Region 2.   

Along with the BLET Advisory Board, the union’s National Legislative Board held its annual meeting this week in Independence, Ohio. Setting an agenda for the 2024 election cycle was the Board’s top priority. The BLET National Legislative Board has charge of all the union’s legislative matters and has jurisdiction over all BLET State Legislative Boards. 
The Board heard reports from the union’s top officers as well as the union’s Washington, D.C. legislative office. Officers of the BLET’s National Association of State Legislative Board Chairmen (NASLBC) also gave reports from their various regions.

"We make it miserable for a lot of people"
CSX CEO Joe Hinrichs recently discussed how poorly Class I railroads treat their employees. Photo: courtesy Eric Williams

In November, CSX CEO Joe Hinrichs spoke at a conference for investors and other rail industry stakeholders. As reported by, Hinrichs discussed the way Class I railroads treat their employees: “In a decade we changed... from being one of the most desired jobs to have, to people not recommending their sons, daughters, and nieces and nephews to even consider it.”
In terms of Class I employee compensation, benefits, and work-life balance, Hinrichs said: “It’s a lifestyle. It’s hard. But if it’s miserable it’s not worth it. We make it miserable for a lot of people.” 
Hinrichs said the railroad aims to “keep working hard to be part of the solution.” BLET National President Eddie Hall said, “The BLET remains skeptical as we continue to wait for Hinrichs to put his money where his mouth is. CSX has reached paid sick leave agreements with all other rail unions except BLET.” 

James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund now accepting applications

BLET members and their families are advised that the James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund has begun accepting applications for the 2024 award year. The Fund awards financial scholarships to the sons, daughters and financial dependents of Teamster members (including members of the BLET). Eligible students must be high school seniors. 

Academic awards range from $1,000 to $10,000. Vocational/Training program awards are available ranging up to $2,000 depending on financial need. In 2023, the Fund awarded $1.2 million in academic and vocational/training program scholarships.

Details on the application process can be found on the JRHMSF website.

The application deadline is March 1, 2024.

CPKC Holiday Train makes annual trip
Since 1999, the CPKC Holiday Train has raised more than $22.5 million and more than 5 million pounds of food for community food banks across North America.

The CPKC Holiday Train tours Canada and the United States each year, raising money, food, and awareness for the important work that food banks do in their communities. Professional musicians play free concerts from the brightly decorated train’s stage. CPKC makes a donation to the local food bank at each stop and encourages attendees to also donate. Since its inception in 1999, the CPKC Holiday Train has raised more than $22.5 million and more than 5 million pounds of food for community food banks across North America. This year, the trip began on November 20 and will run through December 19. For more information, visit the Holiday Train website.
Photos are courtesy of BLET Special Representative Rich BartelaA gallery is available here.

Opt-in program continues
A limited number of Time Books are being printed for distribution in 2024 and will be mailed to members upon request. Please register as soon as possible so that it can be shipped in a timely manner. 

To receive a hard copy of the Time Book, members must first log in to the Members’ Area of the BLET National Division website. Then click the “Yes, send me the 2024 BLET Time Book” button.

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen
7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, Ohio 44131

PH (216) 241-2630   |

If you are a member of the BLET, then please consider signing up for the Members’ Area of the BLET website:

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen · 7061 East Pleasant Valley Road · Independence, OH 44131 · USA

BLE-T Division 622

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