KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 17 — Members of the BLET’s National Association of State Legislative Board Chairmen (NASLBC) opened their 48th annual meeting here earlier today, welcoming speeches from the BLET National Division Executive Committee and the BLET Auxiliary.
The NASLBC has met annually since 1975 to hear from each State Chairman about railroad-related safety and health issues as well as each state’s political climate. NASLBC Chairman Shane Hubbard (Indiana State Legislative Board Chairman) said this year’s meeting had the highest attendance in the Association’s 48-year history.
National President Eddie Hall introduced himself to the SLB Chairmen and gave an update on the BLET’s operations. President Hall said one of the main goals of his administration is to pursue organizing efforts in the short line industry and to ensure that the issues of importance to rank-and-file members receive more prominent attention in the national news media.
First Vice President Mark Wallace discussed ongoing negotiations to secure paid sick leave for BLET members that is not punitive in any way. First Vice President Wallace also expressed the administration’s desire to improve cooperation between the union’s legislative side and collective bargaining side.
National Secretary-Treasurer David Estes discussed the need to improve participation in the BLET-PAC Fund. He also discussed ongoing improvements to the BLET Education & Training Department and provided the SLB Chairmen with the latest information regarding BLET finances and membership numbers.
Natalie Miller, 2nd Vice President & Legislative Representative of the BLET National Auxiliary, gave an update on the improving spirit of cooperation between the BLET and the Auxiliary. As the daughter of full-time working locomotive engineers, and the wife of a current locomotive engineer, she gave a unique perspective of how precision scheduled railroading has had an incredibly negative impact on rail workers and their families.
Brandon Nunnenkamp (Kansas SLB Chairman) began the meeting by welcoming the Chairmen to his home state. New State Legislative Board Chairmen were recognized and seated, including: Mark Elkins, Kentucky; Tim Morgan, Missouri; Ray Vigil, New Jersey; Shane Bragg, Oklahoma; Gregg Garland, Tennessee; and Ben Wright, Chairman-elect of Texas.
The various committees of the Association will meet this afternoon and tomorrow to conduct their business. Additional guest speakers will also address the body tomorrow.
The NASLBC is comprised of 40 State Legislative Boards across the United States and represents thousands of hard-working members of the BLET.