The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) is a Division of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). Its predecessor union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, was the senior national labor organization in the United States and also North America's oldest rail labor union. The BLE marked its 140th anniversary in 2003 and was founded in Marshall, Michigan on May 8, 1863, as The Brotherhood of the Footboard; a year later, its name was changed to The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. The BLE merged with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and became the BLET on January 1, 2004.
"The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen exists to promote and protect the rights, interests, and safety of its members through solidarity, aggressive representation, and education."
The BLET represents Locomotive Engineers, Conductors, Brakemen, Firemen, Switchmen, Hostlers and other Train Service Employees on numerous railroads in the United States. The BLET's total membership is more than 59,000 and growing, in spite of industry consolidation. Since Jan. 1, 1992, Locomotive Engineers must be trained and tested to be federally certified and licensed to operate trains.
The BLET is the founding member of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Local units of the BLET are known as Divisions. Each Division elects five primary local officers — President, Vice President, Local Chairman, Secretary-Treasurer and Legislative Representative — each serving three-year terms. The BLET is comprised of more than 500 Divisions.
All the Local Chairmen on a particular railroad constitute the BLET General Committee of Adjustment on that system; this General Committee is autonomous and responsible for negotiating, making, interpreting and enforcing contracts between engineers and their railroad. Larger railroad systems may have more than one General Committee and General Chairman.
All the Legislative Representatives for Divisions within a state comprise the State Legislative Board. These Legislative Boards are responsible for educating legislators, policy makers and the public about the impacts of regulations and laws on transportation and public safety.
At the National Division, officers include the President, First Vice-President, National Secretary-Treasurer and eight Vice Presidents, who assist and offer resources to General Committees, State Legislative Boards and Local Divisions. National Division officers are elected to four-year terms.
One Vice President serves as the BLET's National Legislative Representative, administering the BLET's National Legislative Office on behalf of the National Legislative Board. Located in Washington D.C., the National Legislative Office also handles the federal legislative, regulatory and political activities of the BLET and coordinates the efforts of its various State Legislative Boards.
The BLET is governed by its Bylaws, which are set by delegates in session at convention once every four years. Convention delegates are elected by local BLET Division members. National Division officers are elected once every four years by a majority vote of all active members.
The BLET National Division is located at: BLET National Division, 7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independance, OH 44131. The National Legislative Office is located in IBT Headquarters in Washington D.C.
For more information, contact the BLET Public Relations Department at the International Office by calling (216) 241-2630, ext. 248, from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., E.T.