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History of the BLET

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.

MISSION STATEMENT: "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." From BLET National Division Rules, 2004.

MEMBERSHIP: 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.

AFFILIATIONS: The BLET is the founding member of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE: Local units of the BLET are known as Divisions. Each Division elects four primary local officers - President, Local Chairman, Secretary-Treasurer and Legislative Representative - each serving three-year terms. The BLET is comprised of more than 600 Divisions.

HEADQUARTER OFFICES: The BLET National Division is located at: Standard Building, 1370 Ontario St., Mezzanine, Cleveland, OH 44113-1702 (built and owned by the BLET). 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.