WASHINGTON — The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), America’s largest coalition of transportation labor unions, on January 7, 2022, announced the affiliation of three more unions, bringing the coalition’s total membership to 36 affiliated unions. TTD proudly welcomes the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWED), both divisions of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) to its membership.
Significantly, the re-affiliation of BLET and BMWED means all of America’s rail labor unions have a unified voice. In addition to BLET and BMWED, the Rail Labor Division includes the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA); Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS); International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW); International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART); International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (IBB); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU (NCFO); Transportation Communications Union/IAM (TCU); Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); and UNITE HERE.
The BLET represents more than 57,000 active and retired members, including Locomotive Engineers, Conductors, Brakemen, Firemen, Switchmen, Hostlers and other Train Service Employees on U.S. railroads.
“Our re-affiliation with TTD and its Rail Labor Division (RLD) once again unites all rail labor unions in one common Organization. We look forward to working with all of TTD’s officers, staff and affiliated unions; we are always stronger, and our members are best represented when we are working together,” said BLET President Dennis Pierce.
The BMWED represents nearly 26,000 workers who build and maintain the tracks, bridges, buildings and other structures on railroads across the nation.
“I am excited for the prospect of advancements for all railroad workers that could come through all of rail labor uniting under TTD. I look forward to working with TTD President Greg Regan, Secretary-Treasurer Shari Semelsberger and the very capable TTD Staff. Rail Labor is always strongest and prospers most when we stand united against the railroads, and TTD will certainly help with our fight,” said BMWED President Freddie Simpson.
IUPAT represents more than 160,000 active and retired workers in the United States and Canada. IUPAT’s members work in the Finishing Trades as industrial and commercial painters and perform essential work in the transportation sector by painting bridges, parking, traffic and air strip lines, trucks, automobile and railroad cars, ships, and aircraft.
“The IUPAT knows that our strength comes from our solidarity with one another. Times have been tough, and we have to stick together now more than ever. We look forward to working with our partners in the TTD across our shared industry to raise the bar for the working class,” said IUPAT President Jimmy Williams, Jr.
Transportation labor will play a critical role in ensuring that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is implemented in a manner that grows good-paying union jobs while rebuilding the nation’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure and revitalizing the economy. Meanwhile, frontline transportation workers continue to perform their essential work during the pandemic and a wave of unpredictable COVID-19 variants. By making TTD’s collective voice more extensive and more diverse with the addition of these three unions, transportation labor is the strongest it’s ever been to tackle these challenges.
“2022 will be a year of tremendous challenges and opportunities,” said TTD President Greg Regan. “Our task will be made more difficult by a narrowly divided and increasingly partisan Congress, and, of course, the midterm elections looming in November. By welcoming IUPAT, BLET and BMWED into the TTD family, transportation labor is more unified and prepared for the challenges ahead.”
BLET is North America’s oldest rail labor union. The BLET marked its 150th anniversary in 2013 and was founded in Detroit, MI 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.
BMWED was founded as a fraternal organization in Demopolis, AL in 1887 by Track Foreman John T. Wilson. The BMWED was once an International union with more than 350,000 members in the United States and Canada. The BMWE merged with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in 2005.
IUPAT was founded as the Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators of America in 1887. Since then, the members of the IUPAT have followed the mantra that “Single-handed we can accomplish nothing; but united there is no power of wrong we may not openly defy.”
TTD is a coalition of 36 affiliated labor union representing workers in every mode of transportation. Simply put, TTD is the voice of transportation labor in America.