BLE-T Division 622

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BLET Weekly News Recap, 4-4-24
Apr 05, 2024

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


April 4, 2024

Follow the BLET online and stay up-to-date on all the latest union news and information.
Click the icons below to visit the BLET's social media pages and website.
FRA enacts federal two-person crew regulation
BLET VP & NLR Vince Verna during a DOT press conference announcing the two-person crew regulation on April 2. In the background, from left, is David Hoagland, President, Washington D.C. Firefighters Association, IAFF, Local 36, and Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation. 

The Federal Railroad Administration announced its long-awaited two-person crew rule for most passenger and freight trains on April 2, a step forward for safety in the railroad industry. BLET had pushed for the rule against fierce opposition from the railroads’ trade group, the Association of American Railroads.
“As trains, many carrying hazardous material, have grown longer, crews should not be getting smaller,” BLET National President Eddie Hall told the Associated Press.
Joining Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and FRA Administrator Amit Bose at the announcement of the new staffing rule was BLET Vice President and National Legislative Representative Vince Verna. Verna told the audience of government leaders, railroaders and the media, “The work that a two person crew performs is critical. I know it’s safer.”  

BLET First Vice President Mark Wallace said: “The FRA rule, while a step in the right direction is not the last word. We need to continue to push for legislation on safe staffing and against railroads that seek waivers from best practices or want to replace people with tech products that are poor substitutes for experienced professionals.”
Read the full story here.
Click here for a video of VP Verna speaking at the April 2 press conference. 
Photo gallery of the April 2 press conference.

Tentative agreement reached on quality of life improvements
In late March, the BLET reached a tentative agreement for 600 locomotive engineers at the Canadian National/Wisconsin Central Railway. The agreement, which requires ratification by the membership, provides significant quality of life improvements and comes after several months of negotiations. BLET’s CN/WC members will vote on the tentative agreement over the next 30 days.
“This was a joint effort between CN and our General Committee of Adjustment to attract, retain, and offer a better overall quality of life to CN/WC locomotive engineers,” said BLET CN/WC General Chairman Eric Hau.
Some highlights of the tentative agreement include:
  • Improvements to the traditional seniority system;
  • Engineers would no longer be forced to locations more than 100 miles away to protect their engineer seniority;
  • All extra board positions would become a standard 5 days on and 2 days off, with a 9.2 basic day biweekly guarantee, bid by seniority;
  • Increased pay for extra board engineers to time and one half (over and above guarantee payments) for working on their rest days;
  • Improved calling orders at Away From Home Terminals to reduce overall time away from home for all engineers; and
  • All engineers would have the ability to achieve a maximum of 13 personal leave days (PLD) per year, whereas approximately half of the members are now capped at 5 days.
General Chairman Hau thanked CN for following through on its commitment to negotiate with BLET on these quality of life improvements for locomotive engineers, especially outside of the Section 6 process.

Photo courtesy: Cory Rusch, BLET Division 659
NTSB conducting safety culture survey, BLET members encouraged to participate
The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting a confidential survey of the Norfolk Southern workforce to evaluate the railroad’s safety culture. Surveys were sent to all NS craft employees on April 3, and the survey will conclude on April 19. BLET General Chairmen Scott Bunten (NS-Eastern Lines GCA), Dewayne Dehart (NS-Northern Lines GCA), and Jerry Sturdivant (NS-Southern Lines GCA) encouraged all BLET members at NS to participate in the safety culture survey. The survey is completely confidential, not trackable, and survey participants cannot be identified.
NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said: “Your insights are vital as we dive deeper into the safety practices and culture of the company with one goal: To prevent future accidents and save lives. As a former member of Teamsters Local 70, I understand how critical it is that we hear directly from all NS employees — because no one has a better safety perspective than those on the frontlines. I hope you’ll make your voice heard.”
The survey consists of 16 questions and should take about 10 minutes to complete. The survey will be sent from “” The email’s “from” line will be “Stephanie Shaw”
More information here (PDF).
Registration now open for BLET’s Washington D.C. regional meeting
Registration is now open for the BLET’s Eastern Regional Meeting, which will be held in Washington, D.C., the week of July 28, 2024.
Guests will stay at the Capital Hilton, 1001 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone (202) 393-1000. Meeting registration and hotel reservations can be made through the BLET’s regional meeting website, Room rates are $229 per night (plus tax) and reservations must be made by July 1, 2024.
Opening ceremonies and a closed meeting for BLET members-only will be held on Tuesday, July 30. Workshops for Local Chairmen, Secretary-Treasurers, and Legislative Representatives will be held throughout the day on Thursday, August 1. The meeting will conclude with a dinner dance on August 1.
There is no cost for BLET members who wish to attend the July 30 meetings and the August 1 workshops; however, there will be fees for those who choose to attend the meals. A complete registration (welcome reception, all BLET-sponsored meals, and the dinner dance) costs $225.00 per person. The price is $175.00 to register for all of the above except the dinner dance. Reduced children’s registration and a la carte meal registration options are also available. Please visit for more information.
In addition, members are invited to Kansas City, Missouri, for the Western Regional Meeting the week of June 3, 2024. Details are available here
Biden fires Railroad Retirement Board inspector general for creating a hostile work environment
On March 29, President Joe Biden fired Railroad Retirement Board Inspector General Martin Dickman after a year-long investigation found he had created a hostile work environment. According to The Hill, the whistleblower investigation uncovered evidence that Dickman repeatedly engaged in abusive treatment of RRB employees, including using crude and inappropriate language like slurs, and “openly belittling his employees and RRB members.” Investigators reported that Dickman had attempted to impede their investigation, as multiple RRB employees expressed fear of retaliation from Dickman as a result of their interviews with investigators.
Dickman had held the position since 1994. Biden will designate Ben R. Wagner, the inspector general of the Tennessee Valley Authority, as acting inspector general of the RRB.
President Biden’s letter removing Dickman can be found here.

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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