The Legislative Department of the BLET Auxiliary was established to
address quality of life, legislative, safety and security issues affecting
locomotive engineers and trainmen, their spouses, their families, and our
communities. The Department has
grown over the last decade thanks to our National Legislative Representatives
who have worked tirelessly both at the Federal and State levels to bring about
quality of life changes. The
Auxiliary works closely with the BLET National Legislative Representative, as
well as State Legislative Board Chairmen in lobbying our legislative bodies on
issues affecting the work place and quality of life.
Individually, Auxiliaries work with their local BLET Divisions in support
of issues that may affect a particular area, such as cab temperature issues,
remote control issues, carry-all vans, etc.
Legislative updates are provided in each of our quarterly newsletters to
keep member informed about the issues currently on “the radar,” providing
background information and the status of those issues.
The National Legislative Representative is also responsible for sending
out legislative alerts whenever we are called upon to tact on a particular
issue. These alerts contain
background information, the status of the issue, and the message our members
need to convey to their elected representatives.
Our legislative alerts have become an important tool by which we can help
the BLET Legislative Department in Washington, D.C.
During the 2001 International Convention, the position of Auxiliary State
Legislative Representative was established to provide additional support for
state and local issues. We are
still in the process of filling these positions and encourage anyone interested
in the legislative aspect of our organization to contact either their State
Legislative Board Chairman or the Auxiliary National Legislative Representative,
The Legislative Department depends on all of our membership to be an
effective voice in Washington, D.C., and in each state.
Politics and legislation may not sound exciting, but is amazingly
interesting once you understand how it works and what is at stake.
The BLET Auxiliary Scholarship program provides $1,000.00 scholarships to
the sons or daughters of both Auxiliary and BLET members, with at least
two (2) years of concurrent membership. Established
at the International Convention in 1986, this program was set up with a strong
financial base, and with each passing year, the number of scholarships awarded
continues to grow. Recently,
several of the Regional Conventions have donated one or more scholarships to the
Auxiliary, in addition to donations from BLET State Legislative Boards, the
National BLET Division, and Designated Legal Councils.
Individual auxiliaries and members have also held fund raisers to help
our youth, or donated gifts for raffling off at the regional conventions.
The cost of education in this country is skyrocketing and this program
affords our members one more way of helping their families.
Requirements for qualifying for a BLET Auxiliary scholarship also include
the applicant’s acceptance or enrollment in an accredited university, college
or institution of higher learning. Recipients
are chosen on the basis of academic record, leadership, character, and personal
achievement. To continue to be
eligible for a scholarship beyond the first quarter/semester, the recipient must
maintain a satisfactory academic status. Applications
and instructions for scholarships may be obtained form the National Secretary,
Anita J. Caruso.
The effectiveness of an organization depends on its ability to speak with
one voice for a common cause. The
Mobilization program was established in 1997 in recognition of the fact that
issues affecting BLET members ultimately affect their spouses and families as
well. This program is the most
efficient way we have of communicating with each other on important issues.
Since our organization is spread out across the United States, we needed
a way to timely contact one another. The
Mobilization Program meets that need through telephone calls, e-mails, and
correspondence. Most recent
successes of this new program involved participating on numerous occasions to
help pass the Railroad Retirement Reform legislation; education of the public
and elected officials on the dangers Remote Control Operations; educating the
public about the Administration’s attempted sabotage of Amtrak; and the
campaign on the National Mediation Board to prevent the Carriers from shirking
their duty to negotiate the national contract in good faith with rail labor. Especially during the Railroad Retirement Reform fight, our
network provided the ability to contact GIA members during crucial votes,
allowing us to respond timely (given we only had two hours to make a
Every auxiliary should have a Mobilization Coordinator and calling chain
to continue to make this program effective when needed.
Once collected, mobilization information should be forwarded to the
National Secretary, Anita J. Caruso.
and Assistance Program
Established in 1921, the Care and Assistance Program is our
organization’s way of saying thank you to long time members.
These members are usually older and their incomes are such that some of
life’s little pleasures are out of their reach.
The CAP program provides financial assistance to qualifying members and
helps them to maintain a little bit more of the dignity they deserve.
All of the current CAP recipients are grateful for what we do.