BMWED Prepares for Transition to Trump Administration

Published: Nov 15 2016 2:07PM

BMWED Prepares for Transition to Trump Administration 

For the past year, the National Presidential Election has been the focus of conversations.  Many of these conversations have been very contentious with regard to speculations on which Presidential candidate represents the best interests of working-class Americans, especially organized labor.  The National Presidential Election is now over, and uncertainty looms as the leadership of this country begins to transition.  However, one certainty during this transitional period is that the BMWED leadership and membership, together, are well prepared to take on the future challenges that lie ahead.


As many know, the BMWED National Division implemented a strategy, known as the 10 Year Plan, for transitioning the union to the next generation of maintenance of way railroad employees.  The genesis of the 10 Year Plan comes directly from the membership.  The membership expressed a need and desire for education about organized labor and avenues to be engaged with their union, and in response, National Division developed the Local Lodge Officers’ Training Program, the (two week)  Advanced Officers’ Training Program, and the Communication Action Team (CAT) Program.  I am very proud of what has been accomplished since the implementation of the 10 Year Plan: More members are attending local lodge meetings, members are participating in online town hall meetings and national days of action, new officers are being elected to fill the local lodge and system federation and division positions, members are policing their agreements, engaging in substantive discussions about politics and understand the impact that unionized labor has on their community, region and country. 


We now face a transition of leadership in the White House.  What lies ahead for BMWED members, we do not know.  We do know that we have much work ahead of us, but we are well-prepared.  We will double down on the resources for our training programs.  We will continue to build on our CAT Program and find avenues to reach members and engage them.  We will work to find common ground with President-elect Donald Trump on issues that are important to BMWED members, such as work opportunities, health insurance, wages, worker protections and pensions.  And we will hold him accountable for his promises to the working class, especially organized rail labor.  We will insist – like we have with his predecessors – that he veto any federal right-to-work legislation, as well as any other anti-worker legislation, that would land on his desk.  This is an absolute commitment we need from any President.  Without holding President Trump accountable to his campaign promises to the working class, your National Division and System Federation Officers would be negligent in our duty as your union representatives. 


Our union was founded in 1887 by John T. Wilson, with the sole intent to improve the lives of maintenance of way men and women.  Brother Wilson best described the keys to raising the living standards of maintenance of way employees:

 

“If maintenance of way employees wish to have their burdens made lighter and their lives made brighter…the remedy lies within themselves…The only source of relief is organization. The only remedy is united, persistent action. Such action can only be had where the men engaged in it are possessed of three sterling traits of character, to wit: courage, fidelity and fortitude – courage to undertake, fidelity to continue, and fortitude to endure without murmuring the trials and deprivations incident to all great movements for the establishment of better conditions, higher ideals and greater liberties for the mass of mankind.”


Although BMWED members have endured nearly 130 years of different trials and tribulations, their keys to success remain the same.  Our success comes through our ability to stand united, our courage and our resolve to be unrelenting throughout every struggle.    


On behalf of your National Division Officers, I ask that each of you continue to be engaged and share your thoughts and ideas on how we can continue to improve the lives of our membership and strengthen our union.  I also ask that each of you hope and pray for the success of the 45th President of the United States of America.  God bless the BMWED membership, the American working class and America.


In Solidarity,

Freddie N. Simpson
BMWED President