BLE-T Division 622

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Letter to the Membership from President Hall
May 31, 2024

Brothers and Sisters,

As your National President, it is my duty to address the misinformation circulating about the BLET National Division’s current relationship with SMART-TD. First, I must remind you of the previous attacks by the former UTU on our members from the mid-1990s, which continued through the mid-2000s, their push for a so-called single craft, the horrific Halloween agreement, SMART’s 2023 utility agreement on Union Pacific, which sold off Brakemen’s jobs for $27,000 and placed flowback engineers at the bottom of the utility roster, and so on.

While this situation is still fluid, here is a factual recap of what has transpired, thus far.

On February 12th, my office received an application filed by SMART International President Michael Coleman raiding the craft or class of Train & Engine Service Employees on the Louisville and Indiana Railroad. The BLET was the certified representative on this property and had an agreement in place that covered all active employees. Unfortunately, the BLET lost the National Mediation Board Representational election on May 1, 2024. Of the 23 eligible voters, 14 voted for SMART-TD, and 9 voted for the BLET. 

Then, just two weeks ago, on May 14th, my office received notification that SMART-TD was attempting an additional raid. This time, the attack was on BLET locomotive engineers on the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad in Chicago. SMART-TD officers are currently on the property attempting to coerce BLET members to sign authorization cards. Nick Greficz, Andrew Goeckner, and Kenny Edwards are some of the SMART officers on the IHB property that we are aware of. They are not your friends. Evidently, they prefer to use SMART union dues to raid the BLET, instead of better representing their own membership or fighting back against the carriers.

Brothers and Sisters, my office receives dozens of requests from SMART-TD members asking for the BLET to represent their property. In fact, we are in the midst of assisting one of those properties in need now as we have applied with the National Mediation Board to represent COASTER Commuter Rail’s Train and Engine Service Employees. They contacted us due to their continued dissatisfaction with the representation that they have been receiving from SMART-TD. 

To be clear, I am not seeking a war with SMART-TD. I understand the consequences of those actions. But I am damn sure not going to let SMART’s attack on our organization and our members go unnoticed or unanswered, which is exactly why I am reaching out to you today.

In fact, here is a quote from Jared Cassity, SMART-TD’s national safety director, speaking about Remote Controlled Trains in the New York Times on May 27, 2024 “If you look at the safety data, it’s better than the traditional or conventional way of operations. To blatantly say they are more dangerous is not true.” It’s obvious that SMART-TD will keep selling out engineers at every turn for their own short-sighted gain.

The BLET has stood side by side with SMART-TD for the last eight years, fighting to keep two qualified employees in the cab. However, SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson feels the best way to repay the BLET is to RAID us. If a SMART-TD member approaches you and asks you to sign an Authorization Card, please inform your Local Chairman so that we can stop these unprovoked attacks immediately.


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BLE-T Division 622

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