Since the very beginning of the Auxiliary back in 1887, part of the reason we came into being was in support of the BLE, now BLET. As the times have changed, so have the ways in which we exercise that support. Our members have tackled many issues, including extreme cab temperatures, fatigue, inadequate or untenable housing conditions, dangers of Remote Control, work place safety, and safety of our communities against potentially dangerous railroad practices. Most recently, some of our members were asked to help get the word out about Union Pacific’s latest hair brained idea of running trains that are over 3 miles long. While it may be that such trains can be run, the more important question is “should they be run?”
Working with the BLET Divisions, our members contacted various media outlets along the train’s route letting them know the train would be traveling through our communities, and of the potential problems that could arise from operational issues or from the absurd length of the train. We learned that none of the communities were notified about the run by the UP. Of course, when the media contacted UP, they were told that this was a “pilot project,” and there were currently no plans to run these types of trains. Color me skeptical, but if they were not trying to determine the viability of such operations, then why would they feel the need to run this monster train at all?
This is just the latest example of how we can help the BLET and you. Since many issues affecting railroaders are more local in nature, in working with the local division, the Auxiliary can help to address those issues without fear of reprisal or of being fired. That is one of the biggest advantages to the BLET in using our members to do what they cannot.
While very broad in scope, the Auxiliary’s mission of education and support at the local, state and National levels is the purpose for which we exist. We do our best to support our members and their families in good times and bad; to educate both BLET and Auxiliary members, arming them with the information they need to know including their rights on the job; and support of issues that affect not only BLET members and their families, but also the communities in which we live.
If you would like to join us in our mission, or would like more information about the BLET Auxiliary, please go to our website at www.bletauxiliary.net, or contact me or any of our National Officers. We are here to helpyou, all you need do is ask!