The office of the Director of Government Affairs in Washington, D.C., will mail the 2023 Legislative Convention election credential forms (along with instructions) to all BMWED Local Lodges on January 1, 2023.
Local Lodge Legislative Representatives and Vice Legislative Representatives
The roles of a Local Legislative Representative (LR) and a Vice Legislative Representative (VLR) are crucial to the BMWED, especially now with so many adverse actions being directed toward organized labor. Election to these offices demands thought and careful consideration.
We ask BMWED members to carefully review the following information and start thinking about whether there is a place within this process for you or someone you know. If you ever wanted to play a part in advocating for our Union at the State level or be a part of a lobbying campaign for the improvement of our Union, this is the time for you to act. The time for meaningful discussion and debate in all BMWED locals is now so that each local can be prepared and act when each local's election time comes around.
Why is having a Legislative Representative Important?
An LR allows lodge members (from officer to rank-and-file) to have a voice that can affect an immediate and positive change at our government's local, County, State, and Federal levels.
In their role as BMWED lobbyists, State Legislative Directors (SLD), LRs, or VLRs can be very effective because they have the opportunity to speak to elected officials on issues affecting the BMWED and are able to convey realistic, honest, and heartfelt views of life on the railroad, which can only come from the hard-learned personal experiences as a railroad worker.
Most opposition lobbyists SLDs and LRs interact with come from a position of comfort and convenience, where their lives have been lived safely on the other side of the "tracks." However, to fair-minded and knowledgeable elected officials, the positions we take on our issues have merit and credibility, which is why we can persuade lawmakers to support the BMWED.
How does it all work?
Article XII, Section 3, of the National Division Bylaws governing State Legislative Boards and legislative activities require each Local Lodge to elect by secret ballot at a Regular or Special Meeting held between January 1 and June 30 following a National Division Convention.
There are several lodges with members in two or more states. These locals must elect an LR and VLR to represent each State. Having more than one LR and VLR in a local lodge works to our benefit, as the more LRs and VLRs we have, makes our voice louder, more effective, and more vital in our struggles, thus, making us a stronger Union.
Local lodge STs (or Presidents) must give a 15-day advance written notice to the members of each lodge, advising them of the time, date, and place of the election. If you, as an individual member, are wondering if you have been sent a notice, check with your Local Lodge Secretary-Treasurer or President for your local's election information.
LRs and VLRs are elected to serve a four-year (4) term, which will take effect on January 1, 2024. The first official act of their new office will take place during the last quarter of 2023. LRs from each Local or VLRs (if the LR cannot attend) is called upon by the incumbent State Legislative Director to attend the State Legislative Board meeting where the election of a State Legislative Director and an Assistant State Legislative Director will take place.
What are the Requirements?
Any member in good standing (all dues paid in full for 24 consecutive months) and a legal resident and registered/qualified voter of the State from which they were elected to serve is eligible to be nominated and elected to the office of LR or VLR.
We encourage any BMWED member who has a strong interest in politics and wants to have influence in our Union, to run for the office of Local Legislative Representative and Vice Local Legislative Representative.
The Director of Government Affairs desires a representative from each Local to increase and strengthen the education and participation of all BMWED members and their families in the political and legislative process.
Contact Jeff Joines, Director of Government Affairs, or Sonia Pettaway, Legislative Assistant in Washington, D.C. The telephone number is (202) 508-6448.
You may also contact the current State Legislative Director. A list of all State Legislative Directors is available on our website's Directory.