Burlington System Division
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  • Your Voice Matters! Your Vote Matters!
    Updated On: Jun 23, 2021

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    In order to protect the membership and set the record straight, this message is a necessary response to BMWED President Simpson's most recent letter(s) that you may have or will be receiving shortly. The copy of President Simpson's letter received by General Chairpersons shows he is looking for dictatorial control over all levels of the BMWED. This is because he is trying to single-handedly dissolve your self-governing System Unions (Federations or System Divisions) and their bylaws to create ones of his choosing. He is attempting to force these chaotic changes in the middle of national bargaining. President Simpson also wants to accomplish this less than a year before the National Division Convention occurs, where the rank-and-file membership can decide what they want. To achieve his goal, President Simpson is looking to spend massive amounts of member funds to impose his will and undermine the voting power of the membership. President Simpson did not ask for any approvals from the elected officers that oversee the budget, System Federations, or local Lodges, claiming he has the singular authority to act. President Simpson seeks no broad approval, even when spending for the numerous conventions he proposes could lead to a significant increase in your union dues. The timing of President Simpson's move leaves any reasonable person to conclude that the real motivation is a union President trying to cling to power over the Union's future. After all, he and those helping him with this scheme are either retiring or trying to create a union structure that will help them remain in power.   

    In his letter, President Simpson attempts to use propaganda to camouflage his scheme as beneficial to the BMWED membership, but it is yet another attack on our beloved Brotherhood. For example, the letter talks about how dues structures and bylaws are different between System Unions. Yet, dues structures and bylaws are different because the members of each Federation or System Division have different needs. The members of those System Unions determine those needs and expenditures for those needs. More importantly, the dues structure and bylaws being different have nothing to do with boots-on-the-ground member representation.

    Additionally, President Simpson says BMWED members should pay for one General Chairperson and not several. However, no single BMWED member is paying for two General Chairpersons, and it is dishonest to state otherwise. Moreover, if a self-governing System Union wants to merge with another System Union because they feel it would better represent their membership, they are entirely free to do so. But that is up to the rank-and-file membership of those System Unions and not dictatorial mandates of a Union President bent on power and control. These actions would likely result in significant changes that could harm representation of the membership. The plain and simple fact is that instead of focusing on National Bargaining, fighting outside contracting, and stopping the bleeding of our membership numbers, President Simpson is trying to dictate how the self-governing System Unions will operate in the future. 

    When the railroads are most vigorous, our Union should not follow President Simpson's bad policy decision.  After all, it does not take much effort to remember the internal organizing teams spending millions of dollars promoting that BMWED needs to be part of a bargaining coalition. Yet here we are, sitting out of one of the biggest railroad bargaining coalitions ever created. In other words, President Simpson's policies at the National Division are a chaotic mess, and now he wants to dictate how the self-governing System Unions should be operated.  President Simpson also wants to get his hands into the coffers of these System Unions. This is extremely dangerous because President Simpson's policies have caused National Division to overspend for several consecutive years. 

    It is worth noting that President Simpson was asked why he would not wait until the upcoming National Division Convention to let the rank-and-file members make these decisions.  He responded that he was retiring in September 2022 and did not want to go through the trouble of fighting through a convention to try and get what he wants.  If this is such a great proposal, he has every right to propose this plan through bylaw changes in the upcoming National Division Convention in June of 2022. The truth is, President Simpson tried to pass this same issue through the rank-and-file members in attendance at the 2014 National Division Convention and was soundly defeated by the will and vote of the membership.

    Our voices must not be ignored!



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