BMWED delegates kick-off Day 1 of Fourth Regular Convention

Published: Jun 18 2018 8:24PM

BMWED delegates kick-off Day 1 of Fourth Regular Convention

Members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) convened in Las Vegas today to open their Fourth Regular Convention.  As a tribute to the U.S. flag, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post 36 in Boulder City, Nevada, presented the colors and the convention delegates were treated to having Justin Blankenship, a member from the ASF federation, sing the National Anthem.

With over 300 delegates attending, the opening was highlighted by an address from the mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman, who reminded everyone how much they depend on rail services to bring in goods for all the hospitality work required for the many hotels which have thousands of hotel rooms filled with conventioneers every week.

“This is a unique city, built by union labor. We welcome you,” Goodman said.

David Joynt, BMWED Vice President At-Large, greeted all the delegates as the acting chairman of the convention and asked delegates to indicate if they were first-time delegates – to which many delegates raised their hands. Joynt then introduced John Murphy, director of the Teamsters Rail Conference.

In his remarks, Murphy said, “Brothers and sisters – thank you for what you do. For 13 years this proud union has been part of the Teamsters Union. When you merged with the Teamsters and became part of the Teamsters rail conference the effect has brought prestige and power to the BMWE on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. For instance, we have been working to get legislation passed to protect workers on on-track machinery.”

Larry Cohen, former president of the Communications Workers of America and current chairman of Our Revolution, a political advocacy organizing with a goal of electing Labor-minded and supportive leaders to government office, addressed the delegation with an exciting speech. 

“We need to keep focus on our shared ideals. We must stand together to push back against corporate greed and the billionaires that aim to weaken and divide us,” Cohen said. “We can do it if we involve all of us in the fight.”

In the final portion of the morning session, Freddie N. Simpson, President of the BMWED, gave a state of the union address where he outlined the work of the union in negotiations, organizing and innovations over the past four years since the last convention.

“You hold the future of this great organization in your hands,” Simpson said. “At this convention, we will write the next chapter of the brotherhood’s history.  Day after day we continue to fight for the well-being of the maintenance of way workers across the country.”

“Together, we will deliberate, together, we will make important decisions, and together, we will keep our Brotherhood on track for many generations of BMWED members.”

During the afternoon session, several committee reports were read and debated including those on Credentials, Rules and Bylaws.

Tomorrow’s session will include elections for BMWED President, Secretary-Treasurer, Vice Presidents and National Division Executive Board positions, amongst further business and debate.