INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, May 18 — John S. Esterly of BLET Division 34 (Columbus, Ohio) was elected to his first full term as Chairman of the Ohio State Legislative Board at its 17th quadrennial meeting held in Columbus, Ohio, April 24-26, 2022.
United States Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was a special guest and he addressed the delegates on April 25. It was clear from Senator Brown’s remarks and his active exchanges with the BLET members present that the Senator stands in support of rail labor’s issues.
A CSX locomotive engineer, Brother Esterly is a member of Division 34 in Columbus, Ohio. He hired out with CSX in 2011 and earned promotion to locomotive engineer in 2015. Brother Esterly joined BLET Division 34 on April 1, 2014, and has held elected office in the BLET ever since. He began serving Division 34 as the Trainmen’s Local Chairman until he was elevated to Ohio State Legislative Board Chairman in March of 2021. He also served as Division 34’s Legislative Representative and a Division Trustee between 2015 and 2021.
Also elected at the quadrennial meeting were: 1st Vice Chairman Samuel B. Schatz, Division 447 (Bellevue, Ohio); 2nd Vice Chairman Jordan L. Wheeler, Division 234 (Columbus, Ohio); Secretary-Treasurer Brian D. Garrison, Division 306 (Crestline, Ohio); and Alternate Secretary-Treasurer Joseph T. Williams, Division 95 (Cincinnati, Ohio). Elected to serve as Trustees were: Timothy R. McMahon, Division 565 (Youngstown, Ohio); James P. McMahon, Division 607 (Cleveland, Ohio); and Christopher “Chip” Cole, Division 282 (Cincinnati, Ohio).
Representing the BLET National Division were: National President Dennis R. Pierce; Vice President and National Legislative Representative Vince Verna; and Director of Legislative Affairs Brendan Sullivan.
President Pierce addressed the group, updating the membership on the ongoing battle with the nation’s rail carriers to secure a new national contract and relief from draconian attendance policies.
“Congratulations and thank you to Brother Esterly and all officers of the Ohio State Legislative Board,” President Pierce said. “It speaks volumes about the influence of the Board to have a sitting United States Senator attend their quadrennial meeting. I am confident they will continue doing an excellent job of representing our Brothers and Sisters in the proud Buckeye state.”
Special guests from the BLET included: Dewayne Dehart, General Chairman, Norfolk Southern-Northern Lines General Committee of Adjustment; Shane Hubbard, Indiana State Legislative Board Chairman and Chairman of the National Association of State Legislative Board Chairmen; B.J. Trumble, Michigan State Legislative Board Chairman; Brian Farkas, 1st Vice Chairman, CSX-Northern Lines GCA; Anthony Cerimele, 2nd Vice Chairman, NS-Northern Lines GCA; Patrick Redmond, 3rd Vice Chairman, NS-Northern Lines GCA; and Edward R. Evans II, Division 34 Local Chairman.
In addition to Senator Brown, legislative and political guest speakers included: Allison Russo, Ohio House Minority Leader; Brian Baldridge, Ohio House of Representatives Transportation and Public Safety Committee Chairman; Judge Terri Jamison, Ohio’s 10th Circuit Court of Appeals; and Dr. Michele Grim, Toledo City Council At-Large.
Representatives from the Railroad Retirement Board-Office of the Labor Member were in attendance, along with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Drug and Alcohol and Motive Power and Equipment inspectors.
The Board voted unanimously to dedicate the quadrennial meeting to Chairman Emeritus Timothy T. Price, who served as chairman from 2015-2021.
The Ohio State Legislative Board represents more than 2,400 active and retired members from 22 different BLET Divisions.