November 4, 2004: On October 27, members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE), who lay and maintain railroad tracks, voted by a large margin to merge with the IBT. They are now the BMWE Division (BMWED) of the Teamsters Rail Conference. Following is a message to these new Teamsters from TDU International Steering Committee member Frank Halstead.
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the BMWED,
Welcome to the Teamsters! We are honored that you have chosen to merge your union with ours, and we look forward to lending solidarity to your fight for good working conditions.
We know that since your union’s founding in 1887, your members have worked hard to establish the wages and benefits you enjoy today. We believe we can learn from your struggles and hope that we can get to know you better in the years ahead.
TDU’s mission is to bring membership control to our international and local unions. We know that a united and informed membership is essential in order for a union to be effective. At grievance hearings, during contract negotiations and in political lobbying, members must be at the center of the union. TDU members are on the frontlines for our union.
Unfortunately, IBT officials sometimes fail to take on the struggles that matter most to those of us who pay the dues. In the last year, Teamsters have seen pension cuts, fraudulent contract votes, stolen officer elections, and continued corruption. But in the IBT there are also thousands of rank-and-file activists and good officers who are working to build a powerful union by making it accountable to the members.
By joining TDU, you will have the opportunity to meet some of those activists—maybe you are already one yourself! Call our national office in Detroit, (313)842-2600, any time to request a bundle of our newsletter Convoy Dispatch, to join TDU, or to give us your feedback on the merger.
TDU International Steering Committee
Los Angeles Local 572