BLET President Hahs to Face Challenger in 2006 Election

A high-level official of the Teamster Rail Conference’s Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) announced that he will challenge President Don Hahs for leadership of the BLET. Tom Brennan served as the staff counsel for the national division for eight years, before suddenly resigning his position in early February.

“In my opinion, [Hahs’] views and decisions are adversely impacting the survival of our craft and organization,” Brennan wrote in his resignation letter. Since then, he has exercised his seniority on the Norfolk Southern. In his declaration of candidacy, he claims that the “business as usual” attitude of Hahs and past presidents has made the BLET weaker with respect to the carriers and to rival union UTU, even as the rail industry is reaping “record profits.”

He also implies that Hahs has not only failed to appreciate the work of the rank and file, but also failed to develop an effective working relationship with the Teamster administration. He declined to comment for this article, but says position statements will be forthcoming about his vision for the BLET.

One Member, One Vote?


The BLET officer election is scheduled to take place at its national convention in Las Vegas this June—one week ahead of the IBT Convention. But officers may be forced to abandon election by delegate and submit to direct election by the membership instead.

A number of BLET divisions have endorsed an initiative to adopt direct elections of the national officers. The initiative, which is gaining momentum, is close to the threshold of support that would require Hahs to hold a membership referendum on the issue.

Time is running short, but it is still possible that the initiative could be passed before the convention—in which case delegates could only nominate candidates for national office. The mail ballot election would take place within 60 days of the convention.

So far, neither Hahs nor Brennan has issued a statement regarding their views on direct elections in the BLET.

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