I started at the railroad in 2005 as a utility worker I went through a 3-year probation for being falsely accused of violating a blue signal violation in 2007. This happened the day before I was to be interviewed for an apprenticeship to become a machinist. It was at this point I found what I consider my calling to become an active Union member and defend those who have been wronged. In 2010 3 years later I became a machinist apprentice. I immediately became a trustee for our local 1145 .I then became vice president I believe it was 2014 when ours relocated to another facility. One month later our president took a managerial position in another state requiring me to step up even further as the president of our local. As time went by and frustration set in, less and less of our local attended meetings and remained actively involved. I then reached out as president and asked a few members to step up which they did and still remain in office as of now and I became local chairman. I'm not going to discuss wins and losses while I held that position because anyone who's ever held that position knows that the most important part is willingness to listen and 110% effort to succeed on behalf of your local. Our location went through a difficult managerial transition during the precision railroad era that was unmatched of anything I/we were ever exposed to previously throughout my career. A bunch of fresh out of brainwash school, don't know a damn thing about railroading do what I say because this piece of paper says so and if it doesn't I'll just make it up as I go , bonus hunters. In 2017 I attended the district convention out in Boston Massachusetts. While there I met a couple members that are on our current slate that also ran with me in our last district election. My single greatest memory from that entire convention was when we discussed District by law changes and my local along with Matt Arnold's local and I believe Ricardo Seanez's local proposed a decrease in pay to the general chairman's salary due to lack of effort and effectiveness. This was proposed in front a room full of approximately 90 people including the 12 or so general chairman, president, vice president , and treasurer that all stood on stage. When they asked all in favor only myself and four or five others that sat together in a row near the back raised our hands . I will never forget the look on the faces of those on stage and the other local chairman who attended. It was a look of how dare you? It felt good knowing that we struck a nerve and possibly got our point across that we are not happy with the effort being put forth by our district that we pay to provide us a service.
I spoke of my frustration with the last election. To elaborate a little Andrew Sandberg used to be our general chairman who followed Mike Perry. He and I had a discussion on why I wanted to run for office and what I thought I would accomplish as well as his explanation as to what accomplishments he felt they had made. During this discussion I argued nearly every point he tried making on their behalf I then got into detail as to why I wanted to run and why I supported our opposing slate. The more opposition and mistreatment by management to our local and lack of representation on a district level that we were getting has never made me more passionate about making a change for the better for our Union then it did it that time and I was 100% for doing just that. I was adamant , that money nor some type of false feeling of power we're my driving factors which I believed in some cases , we're, of the general chairman currently at that time. Following our discussion a few days later Mr. Sandberg and I had texted back and forth at which point I had brought up that I had already had knee surgery and hernia surgery and was in the process of needing elbow surgery. All of which were a result of the physical demands of my job as some of us hold up better than others I guess. That being said he had asked if these also were factors in my decision to run for office to which I replied it doesn't hurt to be able to get a break from turning wrenches for a couple years and recoup. To which he then claimed that someone else who had access to his Union phone read this text and then completely disregarded the previous conversation we had and used only these as my reason for wanting to run for a district position. They , allegedly not him, then posted it on the district 19 page as quoted by me. This is the type of b******* I had to deal with. Another member of our slate and also been ridiculed and slandered about , both on social media and throughout our membership by our district leaders, Lee Carter. Her story is hers alone to tell and I will not get into any detail because that is her business and hers alone to discuss in my opinion. I have a great deal of respect for her and I honestly was very disappointed (selfishly ) I admit when I heard that she had retired because I would have loved to have been a part of this change with her. However I couldn't be happier for her to be rid of the nonsense that she had to deal with while in her position.
In 2020 I had my first born in August, In 2021 I decided not to run again for a local position. As local chairman I spent a lot of my free time on the phone and I know to some that may not seem like a big deal but to a first time father with a first time mother, time is of the essence. You don't want to miss anything while your child grows up, and you also don't need the stress of a disgruntled workforce caused by a terribly run company mixed in with lack of sleep and constant worrying of a newborn. It was because of my lack of dedication that I felt I was no longer the right person to serve my local in the capacity that I felt it deserved to be served. Some may say this was selfish and I would disagree only because my family will always take a precedence. This is why we work in the first place to take care of them which after 2 years now I again realize why I want to be part of a union that wants what's best for its membership and right now what we currently have is not what's best. I truly want to be apart of what we are looking to accomplish which I believe is long lasting careers that involve a fair wage and a respectable workplace of well-treated, fair treated Union brothers and sisters.
On May 3 2024 there will be a Department of Labor supervised re-run election. Why is there a DOL rerun election? In short, the incumbent Officers are incompetent. Their inability to faithfully fulfill their obligations as Union Officers and run a fair democratic election process is ultimately why the DOL is now involved.
There is no substitute for strong, democratic unions to defend workers’ standard of living, their safety on the job, their working conditions, and their dignity as employees. Internal union democracy must stand up to corruption and oust self-serving officials.