BLET Conductors







This is a good opportunity to clear up some incorrect information concerning the conductors dues in the BLE&T. About seven years ago, I was the Secretary/Treasurer for the then "BLE" Division 34. Jeff Scott was our local chairman and was in his very first term as local chairman. He shot out of the gate aggressive and has never lost momentum. It didn't take long for people to notice. Some had negative things to say about it while others had just four words to say about it, "I'll take an application". So we had an influx of people joing the BLE and of-course leaving the UTU. Conductors included. Now here's where the truth starts to get murky. When many of our new conductor members had left the UTU and joined the BLE-Division 34, they WERE NOT getting a discount on their dues and had no idea that some day they would. As I am writing this, I do not yet have access to our records,but so long as our files have been kept in order,I will be able to prove this by the past applications. See,the way dues actually works is,we typically pay three different sets of dues in one payment. There is the National dues, the General Committee dues, and your locals dues. At that time, all our members dues came to me and I wrote a check to the National and the General Committee for their portions and the rest stayed with the local(which I can assure you wasn't much after the first two).

Now a quick fact about representation. You can have anyone represent you in a Board of Inquiry (BofI) that you wish,including yourself. The reason I am making this clear is because I have heard numerous times throughout the years that the union NOT holding your contract, cannot represent you. NOT SO!!! Another point always being made is,you can't vote on a UTU contract while a member of the BLE&T. This,in fact,is true. However,except for a small amount of tweaking,we usually get in a contract what is offered to us by the unions after they have negotiated with the carrier. If our response is a flat out "NO" then we are usually reminded that we will most likely be worse off if it goes to arbitration and at that point the contract is voted in and that's that. This is a fact with both the UTU and the BLE&T. Now to clear up the muddy water about representation. If you are a conductor,then the BLE&T General Chairman cannot represent you. However,the BLE&T General Committee can assist their locals all they want and never have I ever seen a case go completely out of the locals hands and completely into the General Committees. So to say that the opposite union cannot represent you is an extreme accentuation of a negative that essentially means nothing. Now that that has been said,I'll finally clear up the mis-information about BLE&T conductor dues. Because it is a fact that the General Committee of another union cannot represent your craft,I went to Jeff Scott and told him I didn't think it was fair that Conductors pay General Committee dues. He agreed and presented this in a meeting with the General Committee and the other locals. It was voted on and passed almost unanimously that the conductors in the BLE&T stop paying the General dues which at that time lowered their dues to around $55.00. This was never done to get members. Many of our conductor members were already with us and many that came later said it was the aggressive representation and the discount in dues that made them decide to switch. I don't know if the UTU does this with their engineer members,but I do know they could.

I wanted to share this with you for two reasons. One: I was personally involved in the "discounted" rate that the conductors get,so I know exactly how it went and why. You're getting this information straight from the source - NO hear say. And the second reason is because I know for fact that for years now the BLE&T - Division 34 has been sincere and aggressive for everybody's best interest even our Brothers and Sisters in the UTU. We have made mistakes. We have made choices that we may not have made looking back with the knowledge of hindsight,but overall,we have put the best interest of all Brothers and Sisters working at Columbus first and our union second. We didn't hire on the railroad to preserve the UTU or BLE&T traditions and ways. We hired on and put up with the crap that we all have to put up with to better support our families and ourselves. Division 34 has not forgotten this. With your continued energy and passion to be united,we will never forget this. It is my desire to go above and beyond the duties as Secretary/Treasurer to help you as I hope it is your desire to go above and beyond the committment to this union to help and look-out for each other. 

Fraternally Yours,

Tom Heater 


As a Conductor, why should I join the BLET?


  1. We are the BLE&Trainman
  2. Your current labor union has managed to cut the road and yard guarantee to 75% of that of a pre-1985 employee.  Although you perform the same amount of work, and risk the same hazards, you are not entitled to the same pay.  That alone is why I chose to leave the UTU.  (how could ANY union agree to LOWER a members wages by 25%?  It's preposterous!)



Who will represent me If I'm Under Investigation?


  1. Any union member can represent you in an investigation.  The contract holder does represent you in an appeal.  If for ANY reason the UTU representative were to make ANY screw up's, or not fully represent you.  You may refer to a copy of a letter from Mr. Reed, stating his "threat of representation by the UTU" for BLET conductors.  This letter stated his "threat" to not represent members who went to the BLET.  If you feel you have been misrepresented in any way, contact your BLET chairmen, and we will press FULL Civil Litigation on the UTU, and the individual representing you, for misrepresentation.  The UTU has no choice but to represent you to the fullest means possible in the even of an appeal, and for any reason they do not, they are held personally liable, and are subject to civil suits.  ........IN OTHER WORDS!  Don't worry about it!!! 



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