55/30 Struggle in US Railroad Industry

Jonathan Flanders jon_flanders at SPAMcompuserve.com
Fri Nov 5 13:27:24 MST 1999

This gives a flavor of the stirring around 55 retirement in the US rail
industry. Ron Friend is the BMWE(Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way) local
president who has spearheaded the effort.

Jon Flanders

 >> Date:  05-Nov-99 10:17:16  MsgID: MC2-8BE2-AFEE  ToID: 72763,2240
From:  "ron friend" >INTERNET:railroadron at hotmail.com
Subj:  signs, signs, everywhere a sign!!
Chrg:  $0.00   Imp: Norm   Sens: Std    Receipt: No    Parts: 1

Brothers and Sisters,

Below in this message you wil find the circular regarding the info picket
for Nov. 19th.  There is also an updated one ( Dated Nov. 2)

Basically, what this says is to get the word out on this day to all crafts
and the press.

Now, lets add to it a little bit.  Each of you have been working on this a
great deal.  You have brought info forward so that everyone can find about
the earlier happenings and where the proposal has come to from its
inception.  You have brought up questions that have made more people get
involved, and think, about how we can make this viable and financially
possible for everyone. Each of you has proven that unionism is alive in
great country of ours and that fairness and equality for all must be
addressed by our labor leaders, our government, and corporate leaders.  If
they don't have the message by now, my goodness I don't know what else we
can do.

Now we are moving to the next stage, awareness of all rail labor and the
general public.  Your labor leaders are listening, and because of your
efforts, they are taking action.  ( we still gotta make a concentrated
effort to inform them that the original proposal was for 55 OR 30 years
service, not AND.  ( big difference in our industry)

If you will note, whenever I send a message, there is quite a few others
that receive it other than you.  That reflects about one third of my email
list for people that are involved in this just through me alone.  I've seen

their lists and theirs are larger than mine.  This also reflects brothers
and sisters from ALL crafts.  Now that is unity!!!!!!!

Before I go on let me say one thing to each of you.  I have received some
letters, and emails commending me for my efforts on this goal of 55 OR 30.

To those I say thank you.  However, this would have never come to where it
is today solely because of Ron Friend. This was not an original idea that
came from an extremely sharp mind of a labor genius ( trust me, my wife
could provide volumns to dispute that!!)
It is an idea that many have discussed for years, I just wrote it down.
whom is making it happen?  YOU are.  For that I say thank you.  YOU deserve

the praise, and YOU are the ones that each union member should applaud.

Now here's the deal.  If you are not a member of the BMWE, copy Brother
Swantons' phone number off the circular that is on this letter, find a BMWE

member and have him make the call today and order signs, fliers, and
leaflets.  If you can't find a BMWE member, make the call yourself.  Then
line up some help ( a lot of people have meen telling me that for years,
they say"Ron you need help". Guess they hate to see me try to do things
alone, huh?) for Nov. 19.  Ask brothers and sisters that are on disability.

Talk to the widows.  Get everyone well versed to the effect that we may be
employees of a company for 30 years, but that does not mean we have 30
service.  many are far from that.  Make sure that they know that the
Railroad Retirement Board employees retire younger than us. Make sure they
know that Congressmen can write a bill increasing our retirement
requirements, but that THEY, the congressmen, retire with less time than us

and with more money.  Talk about how the carriers are offering earlier
retirement incentatives to management, but will not look at a proposal from

rail labor.  Tell about how young widows are losing their homes because
are too young to receive any benefits when the spouse dies.  Tell how your
retirement taxes are deducted every pay day, but the carriers do not pay
into the retirement account until the day you retire.  Tell how we do NOT
pay into Social Security but rather into our own system.  Tell how the
carriers are using contractors when if they hired more people, this would
a safer railroad for us all with fulltime railroaders, not part time.  Tell

how the contractor takes our work but pays nothing into retirement ( nope
don't want their money, we want them gone)  tell how the contractors use
equipment that used to be ours, and some of the contracting companies are
owned, or ran, by former railroad officials.

We  may get little press time, so use it to the max!!!

Again, I thank you, and may God bless you all.

Ron Friend

November 2, 1999

Circular No. 597


RE: November 19, 1999 55 & 30 Informational Picket

Dear Sirs and Brothers:

This has reference to Circular 595 concerning our effort to educate our
brother and sister rail workers using an informational picket. There is an
additional aspect of this action that needs to be addressed, namely press
coverage. Please forward the following information to your Local
Coordinators so that they may take the appropriate steps.

Select a spokesman for each terminal area so that any media covering our
event has a local contact to speak to.
Forward that individual's name, address, and phone number to the
Communications Department so that this information can be included in the
News Release issued to the local media.
Although we have a national directory of local media contacts, it would be
useful if the local spokesperson or coordinator could forward fax numbers
the media in their area to insure maximum coverage.
Also be advised that we will need some lead time to insure delivery of all
materials to the Local Coordinators. Therefore, please try to notify the
Communications Department of required leaflets and signs by November 11,

Thank you again for your assistance in this important effort.

In solidarity,

Mr. W. E. LaRue
Grand Lodge Officers and Appointees

POSTED : 10/25/1999
DESCRIPTION : Circular 595 - 10/22/1999 - 55&30 Retirement Informational

October 25, 1999

(Sent via facsimile)

Circular No. 595


Dear Sirs and Brothers:

It has been determined that in order to raise the level of interest in
achieving the goal of 55 & 30 retirement among the members of the other
unions, we must have more direct communications. It is for that reason the
Grand Lodge is proposing a national day of informational picketing. With
informational picketing we can communicate directly with a large number of
rank and file members of the other unions in a very short period of time
with minimum effort.

Our target will be the major terminals on each carrier. Our target date is
Friday, November 19, 1999. We will hand out leaflets that explain the
give the recipients suggested actions to take, and provide a source for

I urge each system division and federation to mobilize their local lodges
and near the major terminals in their jurisdictions to carry out this
action. The following steps need to be taken in order to successfully carry

off this action.

Recruit one individual at each terminal to coordinate the action. His/her
job will be to carry out each of the items listed below. When selecting
local coordinator keep in mind your 55 & 30 Committees.
Identify and list the major terminals and access points to same.
Line up at least two individuals per shift to perform the picketing for
terminal access point. Three, four or more at each entrance would be even
better. A full twenty-four hour picket would insure maximum coverage. If
unable to maintain full twenty-four hour coverage, try to cover shift
changes. When recruiting picketers feel free to recruit members from other
Order signs and leaflets through the communications department. Each site
will need at least two signs. Try to estimate the number of leaflets by
estimating the total number of workers assigned to each terminal.
Get volunteers together to make signs. One sign for each entrance must
prominently state "Information Only, this is NOT A STRIKE." The rest of the

signs should focus on the issue. Signs can be hung around the neck or
on lath board (no 4"x 4"s).
Check public right of way boundaries at each terminal entrance.
The day before picketing notify the local police of our action plans.
Line up someone to take pictures for coverage in the BMWE JOURNAL. Send
to Director of Communications Sue Creswell.
I believe that this action will invigorate our movement to lower the age
service requirements for retirement eligibility. But it will only meet that

goal if everyone becomes involved.

Thank you in advance for your assistance. If you have any questions or want

assistance call Paul Swanson at (303) 280-1855.

In solidarity,

Mr. W. E. LaRue
All Vice Presidents
Mr. Ron Bowden
Mr. John Kruk
Mr. R. F. Liberty
Grand Lodge Appointees

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