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, state and local legislative representatives who have worked tirelessly at the federal, state, and local levels to bring about many changes. The Auxiliary works closely with the BLET National Legislative Department and State Legislative Board Chairmen in lobbying our legislative bodies on issues that affect the workplace and quality of life. Individually, Auxiliaries work with their local BLET Divisions to support issues that may affect a particular area, such as cab temperatures, remote control, carry-all vans, rail security training, and labor issues in general.
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 act 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 order to keep our members informed, we post monthly legislative updates on our website, www.bletauxiliary.net. Many of our local auxiliary legislative representatives and members download these updates to share with the auxiliary members at their monthly auxiliary meetings.
During the 2001 International Convention, the position of Auxiliary State Legislative Representative was established to provide additional support for state and local issues. We still have positions available and encourage anyone interested in the legislative aspect of our organization to contact either their BLET State Legislative Board Chairman or the Auxiliary National Legislative Representative, Sereena Hogan.
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, and often is the only way to truly make changes.