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National Division Convention Day Three News and Results

BMWED Convention closes with installation of new officers

Bylaw amendment to move to direct elections fails

The newest BMWED National Division officers were officially sworn-in at close of convention business today, ready to embark on a new chapter in our Brotherhood’s long and esteemed history.

President-Elect Tony Cardwell, Secretary-Treasurer-Elect Dale Bogart and the entirety of the newly-elected National Division Officers took their oath of office on the convention floor in a day that saw several gestures to put past political differences aside and come together again to strengthen our bonds and fight the railroad carriers, especially in light of the anticipated Presidential Emergency Board upcoming in National Bargaining.

“I congratulate each and every one of you, I want the body to congratulate you. I want this convention to set the tone going forward for these Brothers and Sisters to run this Union, run it well,” President Freddie N. Simpson said. “I wish them well, I hope they do well. Thank you all. I congratulate you all on your elections, and I look forward to the future.”

“Brothers and Sisters, President Simpson congratulated me sincerely last night. We had a good discussion, and we both agreed that we want to work together and we want to get to this P.E.B. and destroy the carriers and get you a good contract,” President-Elect Cardwell said.

Convention proceedings for the remainder of the day mostly consisted of proposed bylaw amendments, the most debated being one that called for direct elections of National Division Officers. Currently, Officers are elected by delegates carrying weighted votes from the local lodges they have been elected to represent. Direct elections would change that to – most likely – ballots mailed to each rank-and-file member of the Union and counted accordingly.

Opinions on the subject were sharply divided. Proponents of direct elections argued that it is a “more democratic process” that “provides each and every member a direct say in who their Union representative is.” They claim direct elections would eliminate “slate-style campaigning” where candidates secure election by entering into deals to secure positions.

“Right now in the field, the way I see it on the freight side especially, is there are so many disgruntled members out there that feel disenfranchised right now. This delegate vote makes them feel even more disenfranchised,” United Passenger Rail Federation Vice Chairperson Gene Anirina, Sr. said, “And while they may have the numbers and try to knock this down, they are representing some of the same members that are pissed off out there. They deserve a right to vote for their National Officers and have their say.”

Defenders of the delegate system countered that it was important that the “most dedicated and informed” members, the members showing initiative and drive to be involved, who should carry out the business of the Brotherhood. The local lodges, who are sometimes strapped for funding, cannot always afford to send a delegate and they entrust their vote to a delegate they know has their best interest at heart.

“Once again, I hear politics. Let me inject some reality,” said Delegate Herbert McCants, Local Lodge 2154 from Mobile, Alabama. “Everybody in this room is a delegate for a reason: Because you care. Because you took time out of your life to read emails, to open up books, to pick up the phone and make phone calls, to protect the members’ jobs by protecting yours. That’s why I took on this job.”

After about 30 minutes of debate, the motion went to vote and failed, ensuring delegate voting stays in place, at least for the next regular convention in 2026.

At conclusion of convention, the Brotherhood would like to thank the members of the Teamsters Local here in Las Vegas and Culinary 226, who provided support staff and for which we would not have been able to hold a successful convention. Also, the members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 720 who handled all the audio and visual equipment and rigging work in the convention hall. Union work is the best work, and we are extremely grateful for your skilled labor.