BMWED National Convention Draws to a Close with Inspired Speeches and Presentations

Published: Jun 20 2018 6:26PM

BMWED National Convention draws to a close with inspired speeches and presentations

The third and final day of the BMWED Fourth Regular Convention ended today with heartfelt speeches, informative presentations from the Railroad Retirement Board, longtime Brotherhood special legal counsel Harry Zanville, and BMWED safety experts Rick Inclima and Roy Morrison, as well as lively but respectful debate on several resolutions.

Brother Tommy Nall, a former BMWED member from the Northeastern System Federation, spoke passionately on behalf of the Retirement Committee, evoking emotion from the crowd.

“This Brotherhood has provided me with everything, and I owe all of you for your commitment, unity and sacrifice,” Brother Nall said. BMWED longtime staffers Mary Mocher and Zenon Kuszczak were also recognized for their distinguished careers at National Division. Retirees from several systems were also honored for their long and inspiring careers and service to our Brotherhood.

Brother Harry Zanville updated the delegation on the status and hard work that has been conducted on railroad road crossing legislation and what led to our union’s crusade on this issue. The railroads are ignoring safety and rules when they are too inconvenient for their productivity, and this in turn is placing our members at legal risk.

In California, the district attorney has charged one of our members for a collision on a road crossing that killed a driver. The railroad insisted that our member make a long, reverse move in a spiker-gauger machine – against company rules – because they valued dangerous convenience over safety. Brother Zanville is handling the defense of our member in that case. Because of this tragic accident, the BMWED has engaged in and – in several states, secured – new law that protects the BMWED member from liability for operating OTE over road crossings, just as it does crew members on trains.

Brother Roy Morrison spoke on FAMES (Fatality Analysis of Maintenance of Way Employees and Signalmen), a little about how the group came together and the recent work it has done to help improve on-the-job safety and reduce fatal accidents.

Brother Rick Inclima informed the delegates on the BMWED’s epidemiology study, which has accrued detailed, scientific research that dives deeply into our members and their health, specifically how health problems and sickness are related to the jobs we perform on the railroad.  It is important and unprecedented research for our union and we intend to use it right away to mitigate and hopefully eliminate processes on the job that lead us to health problems.

The BMWED scholarship was also increased to a $4,000 award, and upped to four winners (instead of two). It was also expanded to include member dependents who plan to study at trade schools.

The next BMWED convention will be conducted four years from now, in accordance with the BMWED National Division Bylaws.